Monday, 31 October 2016

Tresinwen (30 Oct 16)

Graham Rees taught me a valuable lesson on 9 Oct 1994 (see post from 29 Oct 16).  On that day I self found my first ever Yellow Browed Warbler at the top of Porthsychan valley.  I ran back to the lookout to inform Graham whom I had left sea-watching and also knocked on Tresinwen to tell Steve.  Both, and others, got onto the Yellow Browed.  I left happy with my find and retired back to the family caravan in Saundersfoot.

The next day when I met Graham again at the sea-watching lookout he informed me that he had wandered off later that previous day and had found a Pallas's Warbler in the Good Hope valley.  That would also have been a lifer for me at the time and was a bird that obviously had a higher ranking in rarity status.  Lesson learnt - if you find a "goody" in the field then keep looking as there may be something even better lurking in the next bush!

Well roll on the clock and on 29 Oct 16, late evening, I find a Yellow Browed in my garden at Tresinwen.  Chuffed to bits to finally get one on the garden list.  Remembering the lesson learnt from previously I vowed to get up the next morning and to stake out the Yellow Browed, get some shots of it for the record and to keep an eye out for anything else - maybe I would find that elusive Firecrest that I still want for the garden list.

Well on 30 Oct the Yellow Browed took all of 30 seconds to relocate!  I set up my camera on the patio and proceeded to try to get pics.  It was noticeable that the Yellow Browed was not calling.  In fact it only gave up a few quiet squeaks every now and then which I have not heard them do before.  I started to think that I needed to make sure it wasn't a Hume's.  However, that thought was eventually squashed when the Yellow Browed found its voice.

The Yellow Browed was very loyal to its favorite Willow and I watched it chase off Robins and a male Blackcap.  Numerous Goldcrests came through the garden.  At one point in the morning during a short sortie the Yellow Browed chased another small warbler out of the Ash tree and back into the favorite Willow.  I managed to get my bins on the Yellow Browed but the bird being chased shot out and disappeared.  I was left wandering what it was - could I have two Yellow Browed in the garden?  Could this second bird be the one that had not called all morning?  I was certain it wasn't a Chiffchaff or Crest.  However, it never re-appeared over the following hour.

At about 1045 I was watching the Yellow Browed as it moved towards the pond and it showed well on the overhanging branches above the pond.  It then dived into one of the bushes behind the pond that is still full of green leaves and was lost to sight.  After a few seconds a small warbler appeared out of the left of the bush and started to fly-catch on the leaves of a neighboring Sycamore.  I got my camera onto it and started to fire off shots..... Wait a minute that bird has a bright yellow central crown stripe and a yellow rump... Mind into gear... b****y hell that is a Pallas's!!!

Lightening strikes twice at Strumble - find a Yellow Browed and there is a Pallas's lurking in the next bush waiting to be found!  Thanks Graham!

Well eventually most people got onto it, a lifer for some which was all the more pleasing.  I managed to get some shots of both birds - see below.  Excuse warning - Yellow Browed and Pallas's are some of the hardest birds to photograph well!  My best attempts at both birds are on the next two posts.