Monday, 7 September 2020

Grimsbury Reservoir, Tysoe and Balscote Quarry :: 06 September 2020

I'd seen reports of osprey and various flyover flocks in the early morning and thought I'd amble down to Grimsbury Reservoir for a walk. As I arrived Sandra Bletchley messaged the Birding WhatsApp group to say the Resevoir was alive with fisherman and boats - it might have put me off but I'd just stepped out the car and was walking through the gate. Who should I meet coming the other way but Sandra - she hadn't really enjoyed the visit due to the disturbance and said she understood why others had visited early.

I made my way round and didn't see anything until I reached the path to the canal. Just to the right was a whitethroat - in the light I initially mistook it for a lesser whitethroat but it eventually showed as common. Whitethroat

I walked through the wood and down onto the canal towpath without seeing anything unusual. It wasn't until I came back to the reservoir, up the path to where I'd found the whitethroat, that I spotted some siskin in the tree canopy. Initially I counted at least five but then could see there were at least eight.


I continued round and spotted chiffchaff, grey wagtail and 107 Canada geese. However, Sandra was right that there was too much disturbance to find anything on or around the water and so I headed home for lunch.

At lunch I was reading the WhatsApp group posts and saw that a few people had posted photos and sightings of a wheatear at he Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground and Nature Reserve near Tysoe. We have friend that lives in the village and so we called to say we'd drop in for a socially distanced coffee, after a visit to the reserve. Having never been there before it took us a while to work out where we were to look but eventually located the wheatear. The weather and walk we really nice, and so was the coffee and company.


We packed up to head home but decided to drop into Balscote Quarry on the way. There had been mention of yellow wags and I can't buy a sighting at the moment. I scanned the floor of the bowl but couldn't pick one out - there were sand martin and swallows, plus a kestrel. I lowered my bins and saw a bird cruising away from me and realised it was a marsh harrier. It dropped down on the far side of the water and had a drink - a juvenile. It was mobbed by a couple of crowns but wasn't for moving. Almost straight away a mixed flock of about twenty swallows and house martin dropped in and hunted across the bowl. In a couple of minutes the marsh harrier was up and flying away across the Stratford Road - as quickly as they'd arrived, the house martin and swallows also departed. Wow, what a lucky visit! - even managed to get a few photos from circa 150m and not too out of focus.

Marsh harrier

Marsh harrier

Sightings for the day included: blackbird, blue tit, buzzard, canada goose, carrion crow, chiffchaff, cormorant, great tit, grey wagtail, house martin, kestrel, magpie, mallard, marsh harrier, moorhen, mute swan, pied wagtail, rook, sand martin, siskin, swallow, tree sparrow, wheatear, whitethroat, woodpigeon and wren.

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