First month of Big Bird Year proves a success

a Goldcrest photographed in the woodland in January (credit Mike Pollard) NNL-151202-225141001
a Goldcrest photographed in the woodland in January (credit Mike Pollard) NNL-151202-225141001
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Banbury Ornithological Society has celebrated an eventful first month as poart of its Big Bird Year initiative.

The society launched the Big Bird Year at Grimsbury Reservoir in January in a bid to encourage people to help record as many birds as possible.

And it has been a successful scheme so far as local birdwatchers have already recorded an impressive 66 different birds around Grimsbury Reservoir area.

The continued presence of a Willow Tit – a woodland bird now rare in Oxfordshire, has been a real bonus.

Three Chiffchaffs have also been very much at home in the woodland nature reserve, including one with very pale plumage that is likely to have come all the way from Siberia.

A fine drake Goosander (a large fish-eating duck) visited the reservoir regularly, joining a group of up to seven Great-crested Grebes, whilst a flock of three Shelduck was perhaps the most unusual sighting.

The overall highlight was not even a bird. The extra attention being paid to the area helped reveal the presence of a very special mammal.

Local RSPB Officer Colin Wilkinson described the event and said: “I thought, ‘it must be a mink’. I’ve seen plenty of them on this stretch of Cherwell – but something didn’t feel right.

“Then the animal swam under the main fallen trunk and finally came up in the backlit-shadows of the bank – an otter!

“I was properly gobsmacked – and even more so when a second one popped up next to it.”

People can follow wildlife events day to day by visiting grimsburybirds.blogspot.co.uk, run by local birder Gareth Blockley.

Submit your sightings and photos to grimsbury@banbury ornithologicalsociety.org.uk

For more information, go to www.banburyornithologicalsociety.org.uk