Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Grimsbury Reservoir & Farthinghoe Nature Reserve :: 09 July 2018

An update at lunchtime confirmed that the mandarin duck was still present at Grimsbury Reservoir. It was also reported that an adult yellow-legged gull was also present so I thought I would drop in.

Mandarin duckNo sign of @987jonty so I started off on a clockwise rotation. It was unfortunate but the mandardin was sitting out in the middle of the reservoir so just record shots. The yellow-legged gull (#131) ticked I also saw a single common sandpiper being chased across the water by the many juvenile pied wagtails along the bank. Lots of song at the far end but all I managed to pick up was a single whitethroat.

In the evening was the second Banbury Ornithological Society outdoor meeting of the summer. We visited Farthinghoe Nature reserve. This lovely little reserve is managed by volunteer warden Tim Pridmore. MothThe reserve can be found off the A422 towards Purston. We parked in the farmer's yard and set off from there.

This long, narrow, amazingly diverse site is now a mosaic of developing woodland, open grassland and ponds. The meadows are improving each year as a result of the management plan which includes harvesting hay late in the year to maintain low soil fertility. This has led to the welcome return of some of the old meadow flowers such as lady’s bedstraw, meadow vetchling and snake’s head fritillary. The ponds and wet areas attract dragonflies and damselflies from the nearby lake and stream and in late July it is possible to find Green woodpeckerbeautiful demoiselle damselflies in good numbers. There is also a colony of marbled white butterflies on the site. Pipistrelle and noctule bats find an ideal hunting ground here.

Tim was so knowledgeable about all aspects of his reserve and made it a very worthwhile visit. We were limited to a small number of bird species but were luckily to see a handful of mistle thrush over and a family of green woodpeckers on the other side of the field.

I think we will all be back when the weather is more conducive to sightings. Maybe couple it with a visit to Thenford in the winter to look for hawfinches.

Sightings at Farthinghoe (16) included: blackbird, blackcap, blue tit, buzzard, carrion crow, chiffchaff, goldfinch, green woodpecker, jay, long-tailed tit, mistle thrush, pheasant, pied wagtail, robin, swift and woodpigeon.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Grimsbury Reservoir :: 02 July 2018

As my brother might say, "it is a duck". But another find for @987jonty at Grimsbury Reservoir today. Mandarin duckThis WhatApp group is working really well but @987jonty is so prolific he may start charging for the service!

I met @987jonty on my way onto the reservoir and we talked briefly of his conversion to butterflies for the summer season. Fortunately there are crossover areas and he still frequents the reservoir. As I went round I missed the little ringed plover that had been mentioned but saw what appeared to be a juvenile grey wagtail and a juvenile lapwing.

As I was without a camera, I went back just after 8pm and found the Mandarin duck (#130) on the bank, sleeping. At the other end the sea cadets were out on the water Mandarin duckbut it didn't seem to have driven the visitor away. As some cyclists past (may have been the dog walkers behind), the mandarin took to the water once more and gave me the opportunity for some photos.

Sightings (15) included: black-headed gull, canada goose, carrion crow, great black-backed gull, grey heron, grey wagtail, jackdaw, kingfisher, lesser black-backed gull, magpie, mallard, mandarin duck, mute swan, pied wagtail and rook.