Misty murky weather has prevailed all weekend with the merest glimpse of the sun. Today I reacquainted myself with Boddington Reservoir. It is only ten minutes from home, but in the "wrong" direction i.e. not a convenient stop en route to Banbury like Grimsbury Reservoir is. It is though, undeniably, one of the best areas for nature in Banburyshire: our largest expanse of water is surrounded by really nice habitats like wet woodland, flowery meadows and scrubby grassland.
Today it was not at it's best - grey misty conditions seemed to dampen bird activity. But it was still rewarding to watch great-crested grebes at close quarters, check through the mixed gull flock for a few common gulls and kneel down to inspect a cluster of woodland mushrooms. Wildfowl were surprisingly few in number- just mallard. The area is known to be good for tree sparrows and willow tits so I will return in better conditions soon.
Later in the day I managed a quick visit to see the gull roost at Grimsbury Reservoir - at 4.30pm the roost contained about 800 black-headed gulls, 80 lesser black-backed gulls and a single herring gull. The latter IS notable - my first of the year at this site (since I stepped up my coverage in early summer). Herring gulls have undergone a huge change in status in our area over the past twenty years - from being quite numerous and frequenting the rubbish tip at Alkerton in hundreds, to being something of a scarcity and a notable sighting. Much of this is linked the closure of the open refuse tip at Alkerton a few years back.