On the positive side, I have to admit that it has been very nice - on the few occasions I have been out birding this year - to bird without the pressure of having a list in the back of my mind.
But, I do like something to motivate me. And today it was Wood Warblers. I've been very disappointed to read on the GBC website that neither Wood Warblers or Pied Fly's have been seen at Darren Woods. Neither have been at Coed-y-Bedw either.
For the last few years I've heard a Wood Warbler singing in a tiny patch of decidious woodland just north of the Clydach Reservoir near Darwonno. This was going to be my target bird of the day.
I walked from the Brynffynnonn Inn at Llanwonno to the reservoir via Darwonno. There were lots of Goldcrests, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps singing all around me. On the track down to the Darwonno field centre I heard a distant Garden Warbler which incredibly I managed to get in my bins as it popped out briefly from its bush. A very nice pond has been dug out near the field station which I'm sure will be excellent for dragon and damselflies once it matures.
At the reservoir (which was very low) there were Mallard, Bullfinch and both Pied and Grey Wagtails. But no singing Wood Warbler. I found a way into the wood and traipsed around listening for its song - all in vain. Gutted! Another site lost to this species, I thought.
I walked east along the track to look for Tree Pipit at a site nearby. One duly popped up as soon as I arrived there. Overhead a Redpoll buzzed and and a pair of Siskin flew over too. I walked on another 200m to a spot where I've seen Willow Tit in the past. No Willow Tit, but there a short way ahead of me, calling and singing, was a Wood Warbler. Top banana! Back of the net!
With mission accomplished the walk back to the car didn't seem so long. I had hoped to go for Crossbill near the Llanwonno picnic site but the weather had become a bit too cold and damp for my liking. No doubt the hardened valley boys would have revelled in the conditions!
A Wood Warbler was trapped at the Obs at Portland this morning, and so I hope they may simply be a little bit late returning to their breeding grounds this year, and that Jeff will soon be ticking them again at Darren Woods. Let's hope so.