Who'd have thought that after the Whiskered Tern episode in Sept 2010 that something similar could have happened again today especially after setting out just to try and photograph summer migrants in a local wood !!
I set out this morning to visit Cwm Nant Gwyn best accessed from the track over Mynydd Ty Talwyn and soon bumped into Paul Tabor who was scanning the nearby fields and mentioned that he also was intending visiting the wood to check nestboxes.
We walked down to the wood together and I gave Paul a hand checking the boxes for an hour most of which held Blue or Great Tits with clutches of between 8-10 nestlings.
Paul then decided to move on and I decided to stay on for an hour or so in the hope of finding and photographing something more interesting.
I had just taken my camera out of it's bag when I heard Paul calling loudly from the field adjacent the wood and pointing skywards,I hurried up the slope to join him to find that he was on what he first thought was a distant Common Crane circling over the hill.
He quickly got me on to the bird and I banged away with the camera trying to get some record shots,the bird was about 1/4 mile away and then appeared to drop and land over the crest of the hill.
I reviewed the photos on the LCD screen on my camera and confirmed that I thought the bird was a stork and plumped for White Stork as one had been in the area only a few weeks ago.I'd left my camera bag and monopod in the wood so had to backtrack to retrieve them whilst Paul pushed on ahead,within no time at all we had phoned various fellow birders and the "grapevine" had gone into overdrive.
We drove over to where we thought the bird had landed and soon bumped into Martyn Hnatiuk who had made a mad dash from a seawatching morning in Porthcawl,Simon Murray arrived and after both had looked at the photographs confirmed the bird to be a Black Stork.
The four of us searched the surrounding area and Paul "Sid" Parsons soon arrived and we all then headed for Parc Slip NR which we all agreed would be a good place for the stork to land with all it's wet areas.
Despite a good search the bird could not be relocated and whilst walking back to the car we bumped into Barry Stewart,Paul Roberts,Mike Thomas,Steve Hinton and Alex Bevan who had also been scanning the area.
Martyn and "Sid" checked some of the wetter fields in the area and then we all headed for home with the three remaining Maesteg lads revisiting MTT in the hope that the stork would be seen again close to where it had disappeared from sight.
What a bizzare morning-I'd set out in the hope of photographing a small black and white summer visitor to our oak woods and ended up with record photos of a wopping big black and white bird which is just that little bit rarer !!