Saturday, December 05, 2009

Maesteg Yellow Browed Warbler : Sat 5.Dec 2009

A couple of phone calls Friday night to Dan and Kev confirmed that both were interested in going for the Yellow Browed Warbler at the local sewage works found earlier in the week by local birders Colin Gittins and Paul (Sid) Parsons,this is something like the 4th or 5th found in the valley by Colin and Sid in the 10 years that I've been birding and a tribute to "local patch" work put in.
This was my 3rd for the valley,4th for Glamorgan and 7th in total having seen other birds at Kenfig,Warham Wood in Norfolk,and 2 whilst down at Portland.
I met up with Dan and Geth at the Tylers Arms car park and following Colin's excellent directions we were soon at the location where Chris Thomas and Peter Morgan had already seen the bird which was doing a circuit with a tit flock.
We didn't have to wait too long before the tiny "Siberian gem" was spotted again flitting in the willows just over the sewage works fence.

I'd dipped my toe in the water at the back end of October looking at digital SLRs and finally took the plunge in early November and joined the "long lens brigade".The new Canon 7D was too much of a temptation and so I hooked this up with a Sigma 150-500 zoom for birds and wildlife and the new Canon 18-135 zoom for general use (especially the grand-kids !!)

This was my first chance of trying to photograph a really mobile flitty leaf warbler and I can assure you it is definately not as easy as it looks.

A phonecall from Kev confirmed that he was on his way and following our directions he soon appeared with Gareth Jenkins for company who had also journeyed up the valley for the bird.

They were both soon on it,another "tick" for Kevin's impressive year list.

Trying to photograph the bird was a nightmare as the density of the branches and twigs of the trees played havoc with the auto-focus (even on "spot" focus) and it wasn't long before I switched to manual focus,I didn't get any "great" shots but given the crap light was quite pleased with a few reasonable record shots.

Dan and Geth had to dash off and Gareth and Kev also called it a day leaving myself ,Chris and Peter with our long lenses striving for "that one photo",Ididn't get it and I don't think Chris or Peter had a lot more luck.

Adrian Murch joined us and was soon on the bird and just after Peter left another two birders turned up.

Chris fancied calling into Parc Slip on his way home and so with time on my hands I joined him for a stroll around the reserve.

There was not much on offer but the light did improve for an hour and an obliging Robin and a couple of Redpolls provided good photo opportunities.

The weather started to close in and we got back to our cars just in time,mission accomplished-a really good bird "in the bag",another "lifer" for the Twitchmeister,a Glamorgan "tick" for Dan and I think a "lifer" for Peter,a good morning out and another chance to try out the new camera.


Martyn Hnatiuk said...

This was actually the 7th Yellow Browed for the Valley, very good photos showing the extensive pink base to the bill, discounting any thoughts that a faint median covert bar and continuing poor light may have implied "Hume's"

Jeff said...

Thanks Martyn,you obviously keep much better records than I do,I've obviously lost count of the number you lads have found.
Cracking bird btw,hope it over-winters.