This is no Farmoor, Otmoor or Port Meadow. This is Grimsbury. It's Grim up north!

There is a running total year list in the link above.

Please send in your bird sightings to the B.O.S. and/or to me directly for inclusion on the blog. If you have some photos you would like to contribute please let me know (contact via the comments box on the right if you do not have my email already). Thank you.

Thursday 24 May 2018

24th May 2018: More Sanderlings

John: We received a steady, easterly breeze today and as such, this produced a bit of migrant activity, not just at Grimsbury, but UK-wide.

At lunchtime I came across a small group of 3 stunning summer-plumaged Sanderling sat along the western shore of the reservoir. They allowed a very close approach, allowing me be get some good photos. I left them to carry on feeding up, however only some 5 minutes or so later, I saw them take flight high to the north, just as the sun began to break through the cloud. We're doing really well for Sanderlings this year with one also back on 2nd May. We haven't even had a Dunlin yet this spring!

Other birds seen today included an impressive count of c60+ Swift, filling the air with their screams and zipping around all over. There were 4 rather late Swallows, together with a single Sand Martin. Finally a quick check this evening revealed a couple of Little Ringed Plover, the first ones seen for quite a while I believe.

Tuesday 22 May 2018

22nd May 2018: Common Lizard!

John: I've popped up to the reservoir a few times for a quick walk round in the last week or so. The warblers are now settling down to breed and so the singing has certainly decreased. There are though still the odd Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap or Chiffchaff letting out the occasional bit of song.

A Great Crested Grebe has paid a couple of visits, although otherwise there have been no particularly new birds.

In fact new migrants have been non-existent really, with the clear skies encouraging birds to crack on with their journeys north, without pausing at the reservoir to feed. The Swifts though have gradually built up in numbers and can be seen cruising about on most days.

My highlight of the week has to be the discovery of a Common Lizard sunning itself on one of the log piles by the wood. These logs were placed there in the hope of creating a home for Lizards among other things, so it was fantastic to see at least one is using them.

Sunday 13 May 2018

13th May 2018

Another quiet week. John said there has been nothing of note all week and I struggled to find anything on Saturday morning. There was a House Sparrow around near the entrance, which I believe is new for the year list and a pair of Tufted Ducks on the reservoir. Several each of Swift and House Martin were foraging over the reservoir and river too, so there were definitely more coming in.

Dave Fuller has been out today and kindly sent me some photos. The Grey Wagtail is carrying food, so they are definitely nesting somewhere.

Photos courtesy and copyright of Dave Fuller

Monday 7 May 2018

07th May 2018: the Long Day Count

This weekend was the annual B.O.S. Long Day Count. I didn't think I'd be able to do it this year, but it turned out my plans for today changed and as a bonus Clive was around to help me. It was a good job really as it was a really tough day and we only completed 11 hours, but if I was on my own I probably would have given up quite while before that! I think the heat had big impact on the behaviour of the birds and us as observers, and most of the expected migrants were well on their way north or so high in the sky we couldn't see them.

Naturally, we started at Grimsbury where we manged to see the bulk of our birds and picked up a few things of note for here. We had a Mistle Thrush singing away to the west near the canal, a Greylag Goose fly over, a single Swallow at the Borrow Pit and two later at the reservoir (our only ones of the day...), four Lapwings over the Borrow Pit (which unfortunately was probably our most interesting sighting of the day!) and a Reed Warbler back on territory along the river.

We didn't pick up anything of real note at all, although we did choose to avoid some sites with long walks due to heat and general exhaustion. We only had Dunnock at about midday (!) so that is a good example of how bad it was. A few other people noted a lack of House Martins and Swifts the day before and we only saw two to four House Martins over Wroxton and one Swift over Shotteswell, that was it.

We ended on 63 species, so nine under par. Hopefully next year is a really good one.

Sunday 6 May 2018

6th May 2018

A quiet weekend really. Colin was out this morning and saw a single Common Sandpiper at the reservoir, which is likely to be our last one of the spring.

Friday 4 May 2018

4th May 2018: Reed Warbler

John: Had a lovely, mild walk about first thing this morning and there was seemingly a mini arrival of warblers, with 8 different species in song! Best of these was a first Reed Warbler of the year, singing from the hedge along the canal, just west of the wood. A Sedge Warbler was also singing there, as well as another singing occasionally along the river just south of the wood.

There appeared to be more Whitethroat with at least 5 males about. Garden and Willow Warbler were heard together with Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff & Blackcap too, completing the eight. That's 10 species of warbler now for the year at Grimsbury, following on from the Wood & Grasshoppers in the last couple of weeks.

Away from the warblers, it was a very quiet day overall, with a handful of Sand Martin through and a few lingering Swifts & House Martins.

Thursday 3 May 2018

3rd May 2018

News from Colin today:

Very quiet this morning though many warblers in song – 2 gardens, 4 blackcaps, 1 lesser whitethroat, and a tally of at least 10 sedge inc 5 in the Borrow Pit area, 3 along the canal between railway and M40.

About 12 swifts and 20 house martins feeding at height over the cattle field. Also a fox lying in the sun at the base of the fence at the back of that field, near the corner with the water works.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

2nd May 2018: Sanderling

John: Today's weather promised much on the bird front, with a strong southerly breeze and some heavy showers forecast for the morning at least.

I braved the conditions early morning in anticipation. Pleasingly, the expectation was realised with a lovely partially summer-plumaged Sanderling appearing along the western shore. Gareth arrived soon after and we watched it for a little while, also noting a brief Wheatear and a Common Sandpiper. The Sanderling was last seen at around 11am, however as the skies cleared, appears to have departed not too long after.

Sanderlings have in the past been a very scarce bird at Grimsbury, however this is now I think the fourth year in a row they have occurred which is rather impressive!

Tuesday 1 May 2018

1st May 2018

It was a lovely sunny morning, but my hopes of seeing my first Garden Warbler of the year today did not materialise. There was quite a lot of warbler activity though, with at least three Willow Warblers singing along the river, two each of singing Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat and the now ubiquitous Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, but there were no Lesser Whitethroats heard today.

There was a Common Sandpiper at the reservoir and a few swifts and several hirundines around. One Great Crested Grebe was still here this morning and I sat and watched it preening for a few minutes, really appreciating it's summer finery. Admittedly it's not a bird I stop to watch very often, but I found myself in complete awe this morning. On my way out I found a Goldfinch nest and will try to keep an eye on it over the course of the spring.

This afternoon John saw the Common Sandpiper was still present and there was a few Swifts, but not a lot more.