This last weekend I had some loose plans in my head that started to come together about a bird-filled day in Norfolk, you know, Great Grey Shrike, Parrot Crossbill… that sort of boring nonsense. This was rudely interrupted when news of an Eastern Orphean Warbler in Pembrokeshire broke. Holy shit!
Bad news was it was in a garden and access was arranged for six people in the garden at any one time. The bird also was now being re-identified as a Western Orphean Warbler. The latter didn’t matter as I missed the Hartlepool bird, I was trying to track down the same species in Spain as news broke. No, what worried me was the viewing arrangements seemed a recipe for chaos and a fair few fights. I was also supposed to be out with Leigh to celebrate her colleagues retirement (the lucky bugger). Reluctantly I decided not to join Col and Dave on the Saturday.
By Saturday I felt rough and that was made worse by news coming out that the garden was pretty much open and the twitch was well organised. Oh shit! Still no chance now. Then late Saturday evening I got a text from Adam Archer offering a lift. I text back saying no thanks and relayed this news to Leigh. ‘You can go if you want’ came her reply. ‘Really?’ ‘Yes, I don’t mind.’ There then followed the quickest retraction of a statement since David Cameron said the NHS was safe with him and then tried to delete the evidence. I was in… I had to be in Dordon for 05.00 so I was soon off to bed for a fitful nights sleep.
Up at 03.30 I was over with Archie and soon we were being chauffeured down by Dave Hutton. Tony ‘Bartman’ Barter making up the last space. Or was I taking the last place? Our journey down was easy though we managed to walk the wrong way twice from the car park before finally arriving on site. The bird hadn’t shown for an hour and the garden was full so we waited on the road looking at one of its favourite trees. Soon enough we were in the garden and watching a gorgeous Western Orphean Warbler. Oh yes!
The above photo is from a video I took using the iPhone. I did take some shots with the DSLR but I bet non are that good.
It was noted there were 13% fewer birders than on Saturday but we were all 23% better at finding a mega in the garden than Saturdays birders which led to a 33% rise in reports to the Birdnews providers.
After a couple of hours we went back to the car where Tony ‘The Cock Magnet’ Barter made a new friend and Dave made me laugh so much I think I was unwittingly mean to a decent, friendly human being… you had to be there.
We tried Cosmeston Lakes later for Turtle Dove – yes, we really did twitch (and dip) a Turtle Dove!
A big thanks must go to The Pembrokeshire Bird Club, the house owners, Dave Hutton for driving and Archie and Tony for the company. A great day out.