Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Pembrokeshire Twitch

On Sunday 30.March myself,Wayne and Dan decided to twitch the Rose Coloured Starling that had been hanging around gardens in Haverfordwest for a few weeks and the female american Black Duck that had arrived at Marloes Mere a week or so ago and which was only the 3rd record for Wales.
We arranged to meet at our usual spot at Sainsbury's car park at Junc 36 of the M4 at 08.30am and set off promptly with myself sharing Wayne's car and Dan with kids Gethin and Gwennie in his.
My trusty sat nav got us to the exact location posted on Birdguides for the Rosy Starling and after about 20 mins it finally showed if only briefly at first,we hung about for a further 30 mins or so and the bird showed on and off and eventually gave us great views when it perched on top of a tall post on the boudary of one of the gardens.
The bird was a first winter and although it didn't have the rosy pink colour of an adult it was very distintive and a welcome addition to my U.K list.
Another lifer for the young Twitchmeister and also a lifer for your's truly having dipped on the species in Port Talbot about 2001,Somerset about 2005 and the Kidwelly bird last year,another "bogey" bird off the dreaded list !!
Satisfied with our first conquest we headed off for Marloes Mere in search of the Black Duck and within 15 mins pulled into the National Trust car park,a brief chat with the attendant and we were soon walking down the track towards the hide overlooking the main pool.
As we walked down the track and scanned the mere for anything else that was about Wayne called a ringtail Hen Harrier which we all got on to quickly and it proceeded to give us some great views whilst hunting.
We soon arrived at the empty hide and a quick scan of the main pool showed plenty of Teal,Mallard and a few Shoveler but no sign of a female Black Duck.
We continued to scan and I called a good view of a Water Rail on an adjacent small pool,still no Black Duck though.
We waited patiently and all thought we were in for a pretty long wait,a sleeping female Mallard tucked in to the reeds had us all guessing when from behind it emerged the duck we had all been waiting for,success !!!
Although initially dabbling when all we got was an up ended rear view it proceeded to swim into open water with it's male Mallard "boyfriend" and gave excellent if somewhat distant views.
We continued to watch and it's really dark colour and greeny coloured bill set it apart from the female Mallards,it performed well and I managed to digi-scope a few record photos.
Well pleased with our second success of the day,a lifer for all of us we agreed to eat our lunch down on Wooltack Point overlooking Skomer Island and maybe pick up a few year ticks in the process.Gannet,Kittiwake,Rock Pipit and Shag as well as some newly arrived Wheatears were all spotted as we tucked into our sandwiches and the walk back to the car saw us tick 3 Choughs and a Kestrel for the trip list.
A Ring Billed Gull had been seen for a few days on the Gann Estuary at Dale and this was to be our next target for the day and a year tick for myself and Wayne with neither of us inclined to go for the Lamby Lake bird in Cardiff.
We walked across the beach to the gull roost at the mouth of the estuary picking up Oystercatcher,Curlew and a couple of Grey Plovers on the way.
Unfortunately 3 really stupid women had the same idea when "walking" their dog and within minutes the uncontrolled collie had scattered the gulls in all directions,don't you just love it when that happens,inconsiderate ar.......es !!
Suffice to say the RBG eluded us,never mind there's always the Cardiff bird if it hangs around.
We decided to call it a day all well pleased with our efforts,2 lifers for myself and the young Twitchmeister and a lifer for Dan and Wayne,a smashing day out in good company in a beautiful part of Wales with a wonderfully sunny day as a bonus.
If old rocker Meatloaf was a twitcher he could have burst into "Two Out Of Three Aint Bad" !!!

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