Friday, 5 October 2012

Leaf Warblers

Fooled by a bad weather forecast I was up later than planned to a cold, mostly grey but dry morning. I reckoned that a quick look in the valley would be a good idea and arrived mid-morning.

Immediately it was obvious that there were a few more migrants around than yesterday with several thrushes exploding out of the dense cover and several pulses of Barn Swallows moving NE, totalling 141 birds.

A fine Peregrine (always a delight to see) zoomed over, spooking a flock of Herring Gulls. Then I finally connected with what has been a site 'bogey bird' for a very long time as I heard then saw a stonking male Firecrest make it's way quickly down the valley. I've seen and found several of these lovely 'crests in various parts of North Wales over the years (even in my old garden) but, despite many historical records, I'd never actually seen one in Porth Meudwy. I was here with Jesse Wilkinson once who called one just yards from me but as I reached him the bloody thing disappeared (same thing happened with a Barred Warbler a few years ago). So, finally I connected (and I take back all the malicious rumours I have spread about the veracity of some of the historical accounts)!

Total counts of selected species (for those who are interested) were: 15 Robin, five Blackbird, six Song Thrush, six Blackcap, three Chiffchaff, 17 Goldcrest, 7 Blue Tit (not quite Falsterbo but I had to include this for Eddie who's only interested in common birds), a few Chaff', Gold' & Bullfinch plus a couple of Siskin.

I was chatting at the cove with Idwal, one of the local lobsterfishermen, about various things he'd seen during a lifetime at sea locally (Sunfish , balls of Herring, countless dolphins etc) when he mentioned a turtle (presumed Leatherback') that he saw powering through the Bardsey Sound some 40 years ago. As he put it "I told no one then, as we did not know about turtles in the area... and I thought I might get locked up in a small room!". He was not insane - what a lucky chap!

Anyway, the Urbanski Birder then arrived at record speed after my text about the Firecrest and we proceeded to work our way back up the track. While checking various things out I noticed a small green warbler - Yellow-browed! Another great bird. Unfortunately, I could not get Eddie on to it as the thing dropped into cover and failed to re-emerge in the next half hour. This was the 7th or 8th one of these cracking little Sibes that I've (co-)found in the valley over the years but I've a special affection for them and every one is a total delight to see and hear. Four hours after arriving I set off home a happy birder... 

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