Thursday, 14 September 2017

Grimsbury Reservoir :: 13 September 2017

Seems I can't get enough of the little grey phalarope currently residing at Grimsbury Reservoir. Day three of the little guy feeding along the east edge of the water. As I arrived two birders were finishing lunch and thinking about moving on. Grey phalaropeThey said they thought they had seen another circle but fly on. They also reported a sighting of another at Farmoor Reservoir.

I talked with another birder who was watching from the path, Terry I think (previously maintenance for DHL but retired in May). As we walked back to the car park who should be coming the other way but @987jonty. He said that he hadn't yet managed to get any views or photos in the sun. As I got to the car a downpour arrived. Talking later @987jonty was soaked, for the second day running. Maybe better luck tomorrow!?

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Grimsbury Reservoir :: 11 & 12 September 2017

As I was leaving work I checked my phone to see if there were any interesting reports on Twitter. I came upon a photo of a grey phalarope and stopped to enjoy the image. I then noticed it was a post from @987jonty and that the bird was less than a mile from me. I contacted the guys on site and confirmed that the bird was still there - it was so I hot footed it over there.

I arrived just after a downpour of rain and the guys were feeling a little wet and cold. Another great find by @987jonty!

As the bird foraged along the east bank it appeared to be Grey phalaropesuffering a little and it's walk a little laboured - injured or just tired? The weather perked up and by the time @Vanellus26 and I packed up we counted 18 people had attended. Two swifts joined a significant flock of hirundines as we left - there are a few hanging on in there it seems.

During the following morning I checked with @987jonty whether he had been able to check out the site before work, and confirm the bird was still there. He had, and it was! At lunch I saw the sun was out so dropped into the Reservoir again for a few photos, in better light. Six or so people were already there and the bird appeared to be in better spirits and showing very well.

Back to work a happy man.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Napton Reservoir :: 02 September 2017

It has been a while since I went to Napton Reservoir and on arrival there was still a mist over the water. A few people were already on the banks fishing in the gloom. As I climbed the bank from the car I saw groups of coot, Common buzzardmallard and great crested grebe, and as I set off a couple of sedge warbler fed in the reeds in front of me; they stayed safe from being photographed in the lower reeds. Within the first 20 minutes the sun cleared most of the mist and it was obviously going to be a lovely day. I spooked a buzzard in a treetop as I turned a corner and it flew into the field ahead and landed on a hay bale. It didn't stay long and eventually landed in a distant tree.

As I walked along the footpath, moorhen fed on the bank, occasionally taking of and landing further back down the bank where I had come from. Two buzzards took to the air and began the slow job of catching thermals and rising into the sky above. Speckled wood butterflyAt the small weir, at the end of the path, I watched a couple of speckled wood butterflies enjoying the sun before heading back. I dropped down into the field beside and walked along the marked footpath. In the opposite hedge were numbers of yellowhammer, reed bunting, siskin and blue tits. This was just the sort of habitat that the restarts would love so I spent some time investigating. Nothing. As I looked I had views of a female kestrel, and on the second occasion it was being mobbed by some corvids. There were sporadic waves of mainly swallow but some house martins overhead and then out over the water.

I climbed back up on the reservoir and retraced my steps seeing a little grebe take off and land on the far reaches. I continued surveying the hedgerows and as I approached the last corner I saw a bird drop from the fence onto the field and back. On closer inspection I could see it was a female redstart. Watching this for some time I also caught sight of the male and a lesser whitethroat. Unfortunately they were some 65m from me and only record shots were possible.


I then circled the smaller pond and talked with the fisherman - one had caught tench and the other's mate had caught a carp. On the canal footpath I again spotted a speckled wood butterfly but no other bird species of note.

Reed buntingAs I got back to the car I could see a yellow wagtail high in a tree and then a garden warbler nearby.

An enjoyable visit which made me wonder why I don't come more often.

Sightings (34) included: black-headed gull, blackbird, blackcap, blue tit, buzzard, carrion crow, chiffchaff, coot, dunnock, garden warbler, great crested grebe, grey heron, house martin, jackdaw, kestrel, lesser whitethroat, linnet, little grebe, magpie, mallard, moorhen, mute swan, redstart, reed bunting, robin, rook, sedge warbler, starling, swallow, tufted duck, woodpigeon, wren, yellow wagtail and yellowhammer.

Grimsbury Reservoir :: 28 August 2017

It was a beautiful Bank Holiday Monday morning and we were due to be having a BBQ lunch with friends. It seemed to be a shame not to take advantage of such nice weather so I picked up my things and headed off to Balscote Quarry; in the back of my mind I remembered a reported sighting on the Oxon Blog a couple of days before.

As I sat down at the screen I could see that the water has dried up completely and that the feeders are not currently being filled. The site appeared to be virtually bereft of any life, until Roger Evans and a companion walked across the main body ... they appeared to have spotted something but it was not visible from my vantage point. I decided to move on to Grimsbury Reservoir instead as at least I'd have a walk.

Parked the car and the area appeared busy but I suppose this was to be expected on a Bank Holiday when the weather was good. Some people were fishing the river near the entrance and there were numbers of large dragonflies quartering the water along the reeds. I didn't stop and circled to do a clockwise rotation of the reservoir.

It was noticeable that there were more people than usual, in around half a dozen groups and I could see there was a very substantial number of Canada goose x greylag goose hybridcanada geese on the far bank (counted c.225). I looked along the hedgerow for the redstart seen the previous day but with no success. I stopped to talk with another birder and he hadn't seen it yet either, despite having seen it the day before and knowing where to look. He did say that he had seen a juvenile hobby in the adjacent field but I didn't see that either.

Continuing round I did find good numbers of long-tailed tits and chiffchaffs. and small flocks of linnet.

Sightings (11) included: black-headed gull, canada goose, carrion crow, chiffchaff, lesser black-backed gull, linnet, long-tailed tit, mallard, pied wagtail, woodpigeon and wren.