Friday 24th February 2012
After a few days away in the sun I returned to find lifts wanted to Wales on the pager. Why would anybody want........and in February? Unfortunately my pager didnt include messages about why folk wanted to go go to Gwent but it didnt take much finding out. Wow! do I need that? After a much needed 'welcome back to proper beer' pint at Church End, I arranged to go to Gwent the next day with Julian Allen. He'd seen the bird earlier in the week but couldnt resist second helpings. News that the Common Yellowthroat was still there came out early.We got on site just after 11.00am. There were about 30 or so other birders spread around the fields but mainly focused on the 'central hedge' where it had last been seen an hour and a half earlier. We were in for a long wait for this skulking little beauty. 4 and a half hours to be exact. Julian and I were standing close to a patch of Brambles at the top of the field when I guy came up to us and enquired whether we had heard any thing. We hadnt, but he was convinced a bird had dropped in to the Brambles making a call which he said wasnt a British bird. There was no further moment or sound as we peered into the dense mass of Brambles but the bloke was convinced THE bird was in there. After about 15 minutes a bird shot out and landed in another patch of Bramble. It faced us showing the most intense yellow breast and then it was gone. Hats off to the bloke that picked up the call, outstanding fieldcraft. We waved everybody over but the bird didn't show again for another 20 minutes and then for only a second or two. It was a matter of luck as to whether you were scanning the right bit of Bramble when it popped up.
So having seen some pretty exotic species in Eygpt the the previous week - full illustrated report to follow - it was great to catch up with such an amazing find in Wales. Well done the patch watchers, keep it up.