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.

Friday 31 December 2021

31st Dec 2021: Grimsbury Wetlands

John and I had a good trudge around the patch on Tuesday morning, with the main aim being to plug a few gaps in the year list and visit some corners we tend to miss out on our usual visits. As it turns out it was a very successful morning with three new birds for the year and one that got away...
Walking up to the reservoir John spotted 53 Lapwing circling over (which I assume came up from the cattle field) and then he quickly added that there was a small wader with them which turned out to be a Dunlin. There was also three Gadwall on the reservoir. We had very frustrating views of a bird that we both thought must have been a Merlin, flying over and then dropping low towards Hanwell Fields, but we only saw it from behind and flying away from us so can't be totally sure!
In the valley we had a good search of the 'snipe field' and soon we had seen 8+ Common Snipe and the main target a Jack Snipe. As we were searching John heard a Water Rail calling from the reeds near the river, a very good bird for patch and the first record since 2015. John also caught glimpse a bird flying around he thought was Woodcock and then later on we both had good views of two different Woodcock.
We did have a look around the Borrow Pit pool too, but it was very quiet with only a few gulls in the general area.
Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

On Wednesday Clive found a pair of Red-crested Pochard on the reservoir, which were also present yesterday and today. Another good addition to the year list. Later in the afternoon Wednesday I had a flock of c.20 Greylag Geese fly over the UCV, a good number for this species locally.

Courtesy and copyright of Edwin Barson

Courtesy and copyright of Kyle Smith

There wasn't much else around today, but there were 8-9 Siskins along the river and a Lesser Redpoll flew over the wood. 

The four year ticks in the last week have taken the patch year list up to 122. There's been some good records again and the bird of the year probably comes down to Cattle Egret (a patch first) or Bar-tailed Godwit (the first record since 1974). On the basis of rarity I was inclined to go with Bar-tailed Godwit, but a couple of others went with Cattle Egret. So Cattle Egret it is, although I assume we'll be seeing more Cattle Egrets over the coming years than Bar-tailed Godwit!
Special mentions should also go to the flyover Hawfinch and the Caspian Gulls we had this autumn. 

Happy New Year everyone. Thanks for the records, photos or just having a look. All the best for 2022!

Sunday 26 December 2021

26th Dec 2021: Common Scoter

On Monday (20th) Dave Fuller photographed a drake Common Scoter on the reservoir. A great addition to the year list. 

Courtesy and copyright of Dave Fuller

On Friday there was a few Siskins along the river and a Yellow-legged Gull at the Borrow Pit pool, but otherwise it was very quiet in the thick fog.

Sunday 19 December 2021

19th Dec 2021

There are definitely less gulls around now. Whether that means the farmer at Chacombe isn't feeding the cattle outside now or just not the same food or the gulls have moved through I don't know. 

On Tuesday it was hard work to actually see any gulls on the Borrow Pit but eventually a group dropped in and settled for a little while. With them was an adult Caspian Gull and at least three Yellow-legged Gulls. On Wednesday Mick Cunningham popped up for a look and had no Caspian Gulls but did have seven Yellow-legged Gulls and quite an impressive fifteen Herring Gulls.

Friday Mike Pollard was at the reservoir and had 40 (!) Wigeon fly over, a pair of Teal on the reservoir and four Lapwing over.

Sunday 12 December 2021

12th Dec 2021

On Thursday lunch time Mike Pollard had a first winter Caspian Gull at Borrow Pit plus an adult and probably a different first winter on fields nearby. 

Friday afternoon I managed a very quick look up the valley. There seemed to be less gulls generally in the area than previous weeks and hardly any on borrow pit. I managed to pick out a third winter on 'the hill' just over the river and a first winter on the pool. A Snipe also flew over while I was there.

Today Thomas Miller came up for a look and had the same first winter Caspian Gull on the pool, but no others.

Sunday 5 December 2021

5th Dec 2021

The main interest this week was the gulls again, but two new species were added on to the patch year list which is pretty good - it's quite low this year.

On Monday afternoon I met up with Nick Carter to show him the gulls and later on I was joined by Martin Elliott. They didn't disappoint, we had five Caspian Gulls - one first winter, one second winter, two third winters (one of which was a new bird) and one adult. There was also three plus Yellow-legged Gulls.

The new third winter bird

Both third winter birds together

On Tuesday Martin set up early to watch the pit and try to photograph the gulls. I joined him in the afternoon and then Mike Pollard and Adrian B joined me for a while. Over the course of the day at least eight Caspian Gulls were seen (!), although Martin thinks that he possibly had more after reviewing his photos but is still checking them. Unless Martin's photos show otherwise, none of these birds were new and some have been around for a good couple of weeks. There was also over double figures of Yellow-legged Gulls with a minimum of eleven individuals noted, as well as the possible hybrid bird.

Adult YLG

Adult Caspian

First winter Caspian

First winter Caspian

On Friday Mike Pollard had two Caspian Gulls (one first winter and one third winter) mid-morning, both birds being ones seen previously, and two or three Stonechats.

Saturday morning I just went to the reservoir and didn't venture up the valley. In the woodland I had a Redpoll and a few Siskins and a Ring-necked Parakeet stopped in for a little bit.

This morning John had nothing of note at the reservoir. I joined him and Mike Pollard at the Borrow Pit and later Sandra and Adrian B came along. Through the morning we had six Caspian Gulls - three first winters, one third winter and two adults. One of the adults is new bird and is the third adult we've had on patch and the twelfth (minimum) individual we've had over the last four weeks. There was also a couple of Teal and eight plus Yellow-legged Gulls. 

Earlier in the morning Mike had seen 495 Golden Plover and 112 Lapwing further up the valley near Wardington and whilst I was at the Borrow Pit I could see them flying around, so we've managed to get Golden Plover onto the year list.

The new adult

Courtesy and copyright of JFT