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.

Sunday 31 December 2023

31st Dec 2023

As expected there were no big surprises for the end of the year. Apparently the Ross's Goose was back on Monday with some Greylags. I expect they've been mostly in the floods somewhere along the Cherwell, as there's been hardly any geese at the reservoir. 

On Wednesday 2 Lapwings did a few circuits of the reservoir before flying south and there was a Gadwall on the reservoir. A few Siskins flew over too.

Yesterday there was a drake Wigeon with 3 Gadwall at the Borrow Pit pool and a Lesser Redpoll flew over. 

This morning Clive had a Peregrine over and there was a Wigeon on the reservoir and a Chiffchaff along the river. 

Happy new year! Fingers crossed for some good birds in 2024. 

Recent photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 24 December 2023

24th Dec 2023

A very quiet couple of weeks towards the end of the year, but that could be down to the lack of visits. A drake Goosander has been seen on and off.
A decent addition to the year list this late in the year was a Cetti's Warbler yesterday, heard singing from the scrub along the River Cherwell just north of the M40. A fairly scarce species for the patch, but with a run of recent records I assume likely to become more regular. 

Hopefully the last week of the year has another surprise or two... Happy Christmas!

Sunday 10 December 2023

10th Dec 2023: Pochard

John was out on Tuesday and found 5 Red-crested Pochards, a Pochard and a Goosander at the reservoir. The Pochard was new for the year and was around until Friday. A Goosander was also present on Weds and Friday at least. 

Yesterday Edwin had 2 Peregrine over the reservoir and there was 3 Gadwall up on the Borrow Pit pool. 

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 3 December 2023

3rd Dec 2023

There was a single redhead Goosander was at the reservoir Tuesday but four there today - 3 redheads and an immature male. 

Yesterday and today there was a Ross's Goose with the Canada Geese - nice to see but certainly an escape from a collection! Also present yesterday was 3 Wigeon and a Chiffchaff at the reservoir and a Brambling just into the Upper Cherwell Valley. Today Clive had a Stonechat in the plantation field. 

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 26 November 2023

26th Nov 2023: Green Sandpiper

Not many visits or much news this week, but a couple of new birds for the year. 

Yesterday there was 2 Wigeon on the reservoir and up into the valley a Green Sandpiper flew north along the river calling. I managed to pick out a flock of Golden Plovers flying in the distance towards Chipping Warden and what was possibly an adult Caspian Gull in the fields but I couldn't confirm it.

Today Clive had 2 Goosanders fly over the reservoir. There was a couple of Lesser Redpolls around with one at the reservoir and one by the Borrow Pit pool. In amongst a reasonable number of gulls I found a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls and what looked like a Caspian Gull, but it wasn't quite right. I sent some photos to John and a couple of other friends and they agreed it looked off and later Ian Lewington confirmed it was probably a hybrid.

Sunday 19 November 2023

19th Nov 2023

It's fair to say it's been a fairly quiet couple of weeks. A few visits from a few different people hasn't resulted in anything particularly notable, but there's been a couple of interesting records.

Last Sunday Clive had 2 small waders fly over but couldn't see them well enough to ID. I'm assuming they were probably Dunlin. Sandra also counted 42 Tufted Ducks.
Wednesday morning I had 47 Cormorants at the reservoir, which I think is my biggest count here. There was also 4 Shoveler (2 pairs).
John had c.50 Lapwing fly over south yesterday. 
This morning a Little Egret was in the cattle field when Clive went round and it was still there this afternoon when John went round. He also saw a Peregrine.

Sunday 5 November 2023

5th Nov 2023

Sandra was out Monday morning and had the Barnacle Goose up at the Borrow Pit pool/fields in the valley. It appears to have gone as it hasn't been seen since then.

Tuesday morning I had 2 (possibly 3) Yellowhammers along the western side of the reservoir with more Reed Buntings than usual and 2 Chiffchaff. There was a noticeable increase of Robins, Blackbirds and Song Thrush too. Thursday morning there was a Fieldfare and 5 Great Crested Grebes again and a Raven over. 

This morning Adrian T and Clive had 3 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler and 40 Fieldfare. 

Sunday 29 October 2023

29th Oct 2023: Osprey, Barnacle Goose and Cattle Egret

A very good week for the patch and quality autumn birding with three new birds for the year and some other good patch birds.

On Monday Clive had a (fairly) late Osprey go over south and Edwin found a Dunlin on Tuesday.

Wednesday morning I had 2 Brambling over and 4 Lesser Redpoll, 5 Great Crested Grebes (a good count for here) and 38 Greylag Geese. A little later in the morning Clive had a Barnacle Goose (second patch record) fly over and 12 Siskins. He then relocated the goose at the Borrow Pit pool. The goose may not be a genuine wild bird but a great patch bird anyway.

Saturday morning the Barnacle Goose was on the reservoir with 58 Greylag and c.250 Canada Geese. A Cattle Egret (second patch record) came in and briefly landed in the cattle field before heading north. It was later relocated near Chacombe by John. 

This morning John had the Barnacle Goose again and 102 Greylags. Later on Clive had a Peregrine over towards town and there was Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Lesser Redpoll and Siskins around the reservoir. The goose was also seen again later at the Borrow Pit pool.

Goose photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 22 October 2023

22nd Oct 2023: Merlin and Brambling

A good week for the patch with a couple of new birds for the year list. 

On Wednesday I had a Merlin (second patch record) fly over west fairly high. Quite a surprise on a morning with some but not a lot of birds moving. A Snipe also flushed up from the cattle field by the farmer and 6 Siskin, some Redwings and c.40 Greylag Geese. 

Yesterday morning John had Brambling over along with 7 Fieldfare, 11 Redwing and 4 Siskin. 

This morning there was a couple of Lesser Redpoll, several Siskin, a Little Egret over south and 5 Raven over north.

Sunday 15 October 2023

15th Oct 2023

Yesterday there was a Stonechat and a fairly late Swallow at the reservoir. Also several Siskins and Skylarks over, as well as Meadow Pipits with some grounded too. A couple of Chiffchaffs were vocal on the western side. A Greylag Goose and at least one hybrid has been in amongst the Canada Goose flock. 

Sunday 1 October 2023

1st Oct 2023

Jonathan Bowley was out on Tuesday, at the reservoir and into the valley, and had 3 Little Grebe, 5 Cormorant, 2 Heron, 37 Mallard, 16 Tufted Ducks, 4 Coot, 1 Snipe over, 3 Common Sandpipers, 3 House Martins, 4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Blackcap, 9 chiffchaff, 3 Siskin and 1 Reed Bunting.

Today John had 2 Gadwall, 3 Common Sandpipers and 6 Siskin. Adrian T counted 280 Canada Geese.

Sunday 24 September 2023

24th Sep 2023

A bit quieter this week, but the Canada Goose flock is rapidly increasing. Steve H counted 264 on Monday and there was also a Common Sandpiper. 

On Tuesday John saw Little Grebe, 4 Swallows and 2 Common Sandpipers.

On Thursday there was a Wheatear in the cattle field and 3 Common Sandpipers.

There is a Wheatear there, honest

Sunday 17 September 2023

17th Sep 2023

Friday afternoon there were 2 Siskins and a Grass Snake along the river and Saturday morning there was 3 Common Sandpipers. 

This morning John and I had 3 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 2 individual Snipe over, 11 Yellow Wagtails over and 27 Meadow Pipits over. 

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 10 September 2023

10th Sep 2023

Tuesday morning 3 Common Sandpipers were present and it seems the easterly wind prompted a bit of overhead passage with 31+ Yellow Wagtails (mostly heard only but included a group of 8 birds) and the first 4 Meadow Pipits of the autumn. A Raven went over very high - there's been a few sightings this week/recently. There was also a Wheatear in the Upper Cherwell Valley, on the Northants side of the river. A colour ringed Black-headed Gull on the railings, I think it's Polish (blue TOT4?) but I need to send it off to confirm. 

On Wednesday Steve H and I headed out to look for odonata, the main aim being to try and record Willow Emerald again. Steve found one pretty quickly in a Alder near the entrance but then no more were seen until later (2 there later). In the heat of the day they seemed to liven up and 20+ were seen in one area, mostly pairs gathered around an Ash overhanging the river and mostly egg laying. I counted 9 pairs and a single female egg laying and a lone male (probably more) all in one small area. There is older scarring too, so they have been egg laying here in previous years.

Thursday early morning there was 4 Yellow-legged Gulls (1 ad, 1 2cy and 2x juv) and an adult Common Gull with the early morning gull gathering. Also 4 Common Sandpipers, a Great Crested Grebe again and 17+ Meadow Pipits over. 

Late edit:
I somehow forgot to include sightings from the 9th!
We had 6 Common Sandpipers, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Yellow-legged Gull and 5 Commic (probably Common) Terns through. There was also a bat (probably a pipistrelle) flying around the reservoir for a while.

Bat photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 3 September 2023

3rd Sep 2023: Gulls and a Great White

On Monday Sandra had 2 Common Sandpipers and John Beak had a Redstart. Wednesday John had 4 Common Sandpipers and a Hobby hunting over town. 

Friday afternoon there was a big gathering of gulls (mostly Lesser Black-backed) and amongst them  our first Caspian Gull and Mediterranean Gull of the year and 2 Yellow-legged Gulls (all juveniles). There was also the 4 Common Sandpipers and 2 Yellow Wagtails. As good as the gulls were, the icing on the cake was an Otter along the river. It looked pretty small so maybe a young one. I'm not sure who was more shocked when it popped up right in front of me and it certainly wasn't in the mood to hang around for a photo!

Yesterday morning there were 2 Sandwich Terns when John arrived but already on the way out unfortunately. He also had a Great White Egret over for another year tick this week. A Green Sandpiper on the deck, as well as 2 Common Sandpipers, is unusual here. Later in the afternoon Mike P had a Peregrine over.

Great Egret courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 27 August 2023

27th Aug 2023

Quiet again this week. There's been 2-3 Common Sandpipers and a few Yellow Wagtails seen either over or down at the reservoir.

Clive had a Little Egret on Monday and on Wednesday I had a flock of c.170 House Martin move through

Sunday 20 August 2023

20th Aug 2023: Nuthatch

Highlight of the week was a Nuthatch on Friday, with a tit flock in the trees around the car park. I assume one of the Spiceball Park birds and nice to get on the year list. 

Yesterday there was 4 Swift at the reservoir and 2 Yellow Wagtails over. 

This evening a fem/juv type Redstart was along the ditch/hedge in the cattle field. There was also 2 Common Sandpiper at the reservoir and Kingfisher along the river.

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 13 August 2023

13th Aug 2023

Not a terribly exciting week, but there's been a few nice bits. 

On Wednesday Mike P had a Little Egret, Common Sandpiper and 5 Swift.

Thursday evening I had a Hobby, Yellow-legged Gull and 2 Common Sandpipers.

Today Clive had a Yellow Wagtail, Common Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover.

A pair of Sparrowhawk have also successfully nested in the trees around the water treatment works, and the juveniles are calling regularly.

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 6 August 2023

6th Aug 2023

Mike P had a Peregrine at the reservoir on the 1st, harassing a Cormorant! There was a Wheatear and 3 Common Sandpipers on the 4th and this morning John had 4 Yellow Wagtails over.

Sunday 30 July 2023

30th Jul 2023: another Sanderling

Not much to report this week but another Sanderling was at the reservoir on the 27th with 2-3 Common Sandpipers. Later in the day John also had a Yellow-legged Gull.

My distant record shot

John's much better shot!

Sunday 23 July 2023

23rd Jul 2023: Spotted Flycatcher

On the 17th Mike P  found a juvenile Redstart again and a Dunlin. It may be the same Redstart but has been elusive/not see for several days or a new one maybe. Either way it was still around on the 18th as well.

On the 20th Adrian T found our first Spotted Flycatcher of the year and there was also a Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover and Common Gull on the same day.

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 16 July 2023

16th Jul 2023: Shoveler

Another fairly slow few weeks, but things are looking up with a few bits on the move. 

John Beak had 2 Oystercatchers on the 5th. Mike found a juvenile Redstart and 3 Common Sandpipers on the 12th. The Redstart showed incredibly well for Mike but was not seen the next day, but 4 Shovelers were present and were surprisingly new for the year. There was also the 3 Common Sandpipers still and a Little Ringed Plover later in the day.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 25 June 2023

25th Jun 2023

It's been a very quiet few weeks with very little bird news of any note. One or two Little Ringed Plovers have been seen occasionally and two Common Terns were at the reservoir on the 18th and one was there again today. The only other notable bird has been a Yellow-legged Gull that dropped in to the Borrow Pit pool for a few minutes on the 18th.

Dragonflies and damselflies are my main interest at the moment, with Southern and Brown Hawkers new for the year today. There's been a lot of Marbled White butterflies up around the Borrow Pit and on the 18th Clive and I saw a Small Heath too, which neither of us remember seeing there before (Clive maybe has, but not for several years). There's also a good number of Common Spotted Orchids and several Pyramidal Orchids again this year, but I haven't seen any Bee Orchids yet.