Monday, June 22, 2009

Wonderful Weekend:Part1

With Wayne unavailable and Kevin preferring to "dip" on Sunday myself,Dan and the "boy-wonder" birder Gethin aka "The Twitchmeister" headed west Fri evening (19th June) down the Gower to try and pickup the 1st summer female Woodchat Shrike that had been found earlier in the week on Rhosili Downs.
Dan had made a visit the previous day whilst on business but had "dipped" as had others, the bird was proving elusive.
I'd only seen one previous Woodchat Shrike in the U.K which was the male at Cosmeston about 5-6 years ago and the species would be a "lifer" for Dan and Geth.
We arrived to a cold and blustery site and scanned every fence,power cable and gorse bush for the elusive bird,plenty of Meadow Pipits and Stonechats but no shrike.
After an hour Dan checked what we thought was yet another pipit which turned out to be the shrike,it quickly dived into cover before emerging again on top of a gorse bush.
We didn't find the bird until 8.30pm and with overcast weather condititions and the gorse bushes constantly wavering in the breeze getting a couple of "snaps" was hard work.
The bird was quite mobile and flitted between several gorse bushes before taking shelter from the breeze at the base of another spindly bush.

We watched the bird for about 20mins and with the light starting to fade decided to head back to the car for a celebratory "Tunnocks" caramel wafer, Gethin's "ritual" when chalking up yet another "lifer" on his ever growing life list.

We passed a couple of other visiting birders on our walk back to the car and tried to "pinpoint" the bird for them with directions,hope they were as lucky as we were.

A good start to what was to be a cracking weekend !!


Adam Tilt said...

I left not long after you had gone past so missed the bird unfortunately. Went back the next day however and got excellent views with the bird sitting on the telegraph wires next to the green shed. Result.

Dan said...

Glad you got it in the end, Adam. We were scanning the tops of posts, poles, fences, gorse etc and had given up for the evening when we lucked on it on the way back to the car. It did briefly perch on top of some gorse but most of the time it kept down low, which might explain why it's been so difficult to find.