Monday, June 26, 2017

Caspian Tern : Sker, Porthcawl

It was a bit of a weird day yesterday, I had decided to visit Brunel Quay/River Neath and having just got in the car a 'grapevine' text provided news of a large tern probably Caspian found at Brunel Quay by two of the Port Talbot boys Dave Cornish and Dave Sharps.
As I pulled into the layby adjacent the quay Rob Jones was just pulling out, we stopped to chat briefly and Rob who had missed the bird by five minutes sped off to Eglwys Nunydd reservoir to see if the bird had dropped in there, meanwhile myself and Pearl my dog ventured halfway down the river in an attempt to refind the bird but we were out of luck.
I had intended to move on to Kenfig Pool and did just that hoping that the bird may drop in there, I settled down and Paul 'Sid' Parsons strolled up from the north end, he stated that he was heading south for Sker and we both agreed that we would phone each other should we get a sighting.
Time passed and then I got a call from 'Sid' confirming that the tern had been relocated on the beach west of the mussel beds.
I put the word out on the 'grapevine' text service and gave Rob Jones a call who in company with Darren Coombes was at Morfa so not too far from the bird.
Pearl and myself made a brisk dash for the coast and after a scan with the bins located some birders in the distance, upon arrival I was greeted by Rob, Darren, and also Judd Hunt and Alex Bevan to be told that I had missed the bird by five minutes it having flown inland over the dunes towards the pool.
Judd and Alex departed and myself, Rob and Darren decided to climb up to one of the higher dunes to see if we could see the bird over the pool.
Just as we were about to set off the tern flew back into the beach and landed about 80m from us, we kept a safe distance and I managed some decent 'record' shots as the bird moved around for the next hour or so.......

We were joined by Barry and Sandra Stewart, a birder I didn't know and Dave Pritchard and the bird continued to show well if a little mobile......

Richard Smith phoned and as others departed I said I would stay but five minutes before Richard arrived with Steve Hinton and Alan Hughes the tern took flight again heading north east towards the pool.
Steve and Alan headed for the Kenfig rivermouth and myself, Richard and Phil Bristow who had also turned up parked ourselves on a dune but with no success headed for the pool.
A phonecall from Paul Roberts confirmed that the bird was showing well in flight over the pool and as myself and Richard neared the south hide the tern flew back towards the beach passing directly over us.
As we got to the hide Mike Powell passed us heading for the beach as did Steve and Alan, myself and Richard decided to stay in the hide hoping that the bird would return again and were joined by father and son visiting birders from Suffolk who were thrilled at having caught up with this very special tern.
We put in another half hour in the hide but as the light started to fade we decided to call it a day and we both headed for home.
A few other birders turned up at the pool and we picked out Neil Donaghy, Gareth Stamp, Martin Bevan and Phil Hill.
What an up and down day but at the end of it a UK 'tick' for me and some reasonable 'record' photos,
result !!!
The bird was not refound yesterday evening but today it has been seen and photographed at WWT, Llanelli, hopefully it will head back east and drop in again somewhere in Glamorgan.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Night Heron : Cosmeston CP, Penarth

Not often I miss out on news of a rarity but having decided to have a non-birding morning last Sunday 18th June followed mid afternoon and evening accompanying Teresa to see two of her favourites Michael Ball and Alfie Boe in concert at Eastnor Castle near Ledbury just over the border. There was no mobile signal for the duration so I didn't pick up the info until night time.
Luckily the bird was reported the following day on Monday and I made a mad dash after work on a very hot and sticky evening being greeted on arrival at the bridge between the east and west lakes by Steve Hinton, Colin Harvey, Wayne Strong, Matt Evans, Mark Dutfield, Nicola Johns and a few other birders that I didn't know.
The bird was present but was skulking as Night Herons do in a tree on the edge of the west lake where it stayed for most of my time there, it flew from one tree to another and then over the bridge to settle low in another tree halfway along the northern shore of the east lake opposite the cafe'.
I only managed a handful of pretty average shots but was glad just to see the bird which was a county 'tick' for me, I'm glad that I made the effort as it wasn't seen yesterday or today and may have departed.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Rose-coloured Starling : Gowerton

I was rather intrigued at the lack of reports of the adult Rose-coloured Starling that had been reported coming to feeders in a garden of a property adjacent Cedar Close in Gowerton and having spoken to a few local birders who couldn't confirm any positive news I decided to head west and check out the bird for myself late morning today.
Arriving at the close I bumped into Alan Blackley from Newport who reported that the bird was feeding in the garden of a property adjacent the rear of 16, Cedar Close and was coming up on to the fence between the properties and showing well, what a stroke of luck !!
Alan accompanied myself to the property and the young couple who owned the bungalow kindly granted us access and I managed to get a few nice shots of the stunning adult bird.....

The bird disappeared for a while and then reappeared in a large oak adjacent the garden.....

I decided to leave but first thought that I'd stroll down the main road to try and find the garden that the bird was feeding in, at the bottom of the drive the owner spotted me and without hesitation invited me into the garden, showed me the feeders and allowed me the freedom of the garden, the bird returned to feed a couple more times and I managed a few more shots.........

I've seen a few Rosy Starlings previously but never had such great views, one happy 'togger' !!

Grasshopper Warbler : Maesteg Golf Course

Whilst out walking Pearl my dog late Thursday evening across Maesteg Golf Course I came across a very vocal and unusually showy Grasshopper Warbler so being heading west to Gowerton for the Rose - coloured Starling today I thought I'd check out the site and found that the bird was still holding territory and showing well.
Dodging golf balls I managed to get a few shots that I was really pleased with......