Monday, March 17, 2008

Gower Cattle Egret

On Sunday 9.March 2008 myself ,Dan and the young Twitchmeister headed for Pennard on the Gower penninsula in search of the single Cattle Egret which was one of a major influx of the species into the U.K. and had been kicking about for a couple of weeks.
Wayne was due to join us but a very early text advising us of a poor night's sleep reduced our party to 3.
We met up early at the usual meeting place of Sainsbury's car park at Junc 36 of the M4 and headed west.
We called into Blackpill to collect my oldest friend Neil who lives there just off the main road,although not an avid birder he is a "walker who sees birds" and last year invested in a good pair of 8x42 Opticrons.
Having only seen Cattle Egret abroad and in this country in Devon and Dorset success would mean a Glamorgan tick !
This also applied to Dan but was a lifer for both Gethin and Neil.
The weather forecast was heavy showers and we were not to be disappointed.
Upon arrival at the cattle field the bird had been favouring we were greeted by a short,sharp shower but undeterred quickly got on to the bird which gave excellent if distant views,another lifer in the bag for the young Twitchmeister !!
The blustery weather conditions and distant bird were not exactly condusive to digi-scoping but I managed a few "half-tidy record shots".
We decided to spend some time with a sea watch off Pwll-Du Head but gave up after about 10 minutes as the sea was totally barren,although a pair of Peregrines over the cliffs was a nice surprise.
This was quite unusual as Pennard is generally good for large Scoter flocks and divers.
We thought we'd try to get better views of the Cattle Egret from the access road side of the field and whilst walking up the lane towards the viewing gate we got caught in an almighty downpour with little or no shelter which evoked memories of that fateful drenching which spawned the name of this blog site !!!
Whilst sheltering from the heavy shower we looked up the lane to be greeted by the weird sight of the egret standing in the middle of the tarmac lane !!
We pushed on and as the weather improved we managed some better views of the bird.
Having had our fill of the egret we decided that we would with the aid of a grid reference try and find the site of the Gower Tree Sparrow feeding station at Newton Farm.
Despite some crap map reading we eventually made our way across several fields and stiles to the derelict farm buildings where a number of nut and seed feeders hung from a tree.
We then spent a frustrating 45 mins or so scanning every feeder,hedgerow and tree in the vicinty for the elusive sparrows until after some time we managed to get on to two which perched to give excellent views and another lifer for young Gethin and also Neil.
With hunger pangs becoming more prevelent we headed for home dropping Neil off in Blackpill on the way.
Another enjoyable morning out in good company and a couple of "cracking" birds to add to this year's as yet meagre year list.


Wayne said...

I'm pleased to inform the Twitchmeister that both cattle egret and tree sparrow are on my life list.

The Twitchmeister said...

Hmm! You're lucky Wayne. Have you seen Black Duck?

Wayne said...

TM, ask me after Easter!