Saturday, 25 February 2012

28 years and finally unblocked

Certain things stick in your memory and a phone call from my Dad back in October 1984 from the Scillies, always has. He was phoning for his daily catch up with things at home as he was on his yearly birding trip to the Scillies and although I was only 8 at the time, I still remember crying when he told me he'd just seen a Common Yellowthroat on Bryher, worse was still to come when he phoned later in the same week to tell me he'd also ticked off Cliff Swallow. Still haven't got that one back yet, although I have tried, was only half an hour away from the Dorset bird when we got stuck in traffic and arrived too late, there'll be another but just might have to be a bit quicker off the mark next time.

Thursday 16th Feb and we had just arrived at Amy's favourite restaurant for a treat, Pizza Hut, then the MEGA alert went off on the phone - Common Yellowthroat Rhiwderyn, Gwent, well that put a downer on the rest of the evening although thankfully Amy didn't notice. I could have gone the next day but I'd already made plans to work - whoops!! Negative news on the Saturday morning in heavy rain came as something of a relief as the family had come down with a sickness bug. But then of course it was refound in the afternoon when the sun came out and a potential twitch was back on, just needed to hope it would hang around. It was still there Monday morning when I left for work so that was that, I was going Tuesday morning with the aim of being there at first light.

Heavy drizzle first thing brought no sign of the bird, but once the 30 or 40 birders had decided there was no point staring into one bush when there was so much other suitable habitat where it could be, things looked more promising. Of course I was as far away as possible from the bird when the shout went up that it had been relocated but after a quick sprint, I was grilling the bird in the scope as it fed along the bottom of the hedgerow.

Common Yellowthroat - Andy Jordan

Check out some fantastic footage here 

Having had decent views for an hour or so, I decided to head off for the Lesser Scaup at Cosmeston Lakes at nearby Penarth. Having made my way through Cardiff, I eventually arrived at the lakes and found I was the only birder present, excellent!! Nevermind, a drake Lesser Scaup isn't too  difficult to pick up but then I saw the size of the place and wished some others had followed me down from the Yellowthroat. Undeterred I set off to the far lake and began searching, an hour or so and still no sign even though it had been reported on the Monday, right where I was searching. As I'd seen a few before I decided to cut my losses and head back to the car and start the long journey home. Stopping at the East lake on the way back I decided on one more quick scan and there not more than fifty yards from the shore was the Lesser Scaup - result!

Lesser Scaup - Cosmestn Lakes (iPhone through scope)

A quick look through the ducks and swans being fed by the vistor centre also revealed the very confiding Whooper Swan.

Whooper Swan - Cosmeston Lakes

All in all a decent twitch and one finally back on my Dad, the last time thta happened was the Red necked Stint at Somersham in Cambridgeshire in 2001. Just hope it's not another 11 years before the Song Sparrow in Yorkshire!!

It's been a while...

Sorry for the distinct lack of drivel/updates on here lately, things have been a bit hectic what with work, being ill, living, oh yeah and we also had another one of these!!!

Toby was born at the end of November last year, hence the lack of birding updates. But now, as things have started to settle down and we're managing more than 2 hours sleep a night, I've managed a bit of local birding and even would you believe it, a twitch! I've already got a pair of bins for him, courtesy of Mothercare, to match his big sisters, just in case he decides to get interested (as if he has a choice). She's already got a couple of decent blockers on him though, White Throated Robin and Audouin's Gull, are good starters.