Plan A: Get up early, bird our patch on the Radyr Floodplain and find ourselves a 'mega'.
Plan B: Get up early, bird our patch on the Radyr Floodplain, find bugger all and then go and twitch somebody else's 'mega'.
Plan B it was! (Highlight on the patch: 3 Reed Buntings). Why we bothered to formulate Plan A I'll never know. A little over an hour after leaving home we were at Oldbury-on-Severn and watching this little beauty:
A very impressive roof nut with a female Pied Wheatear to its left.
It may not have been the most beautiful bird in world but I really enjoyed watching this little beauty. I must have fallen for its personality as it hawked insects on top of the Oldbury Sailing Club roof. I don't know what Darryl Spittle was doing birding this particular spot on the English side of the River Severn instead of his beloved Gwent, but I'm very grateful to him for finding this beauty.
Onwards and upwards. With our luck obviously in, Geth and I headed back west (paying £5.70 for the privilege of returning to our homeland) to do a bit of birding around The Forest of Dean. Without a doubt, one of Gethin's bogey birds is Hawfinch. He's had untickable glimpses of them at Fforest Ganol and dipped on one at The Forest of Dean by a matter of a few seconds. His luck was about to change. Within moments of getting out of the car he'd found one . . . but thanks to my inability to get on to the bird, and his efforts to help me, he again only managed a brief and untickable view.
Some heated words were exchanged, the mood was tense - you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. A stressful 20 mins passed and then . . . thank God! . . . two Hawfinch popped up on top of a tree and the Twitchmeister finally had his tick. The relief washed over us - me in particular!
Cannop Ponds, The Forest of Dean
We stopped off briefly at Cannop Ponds on our way home where there were 50+ Mandarin Duck, a nice selection of waterfowl but had no joy with Willow Tit.
To celebrate our success (and because Mrs JJ and Gwenni were away) the day was rounded off at Queen Street Pizza Hut where we hatched our birding plan for the next day:
Plan A: Get up early, bird our patch on Radyr Floodplain and find ourselves a 'mega'.
Plan B: Get up early, bird our patch on Radyr Floodplain, find bugger all and then go and twitch somebody else's 'mega'!