Thursday 31st October 2013
As Dave Abbot and I drove through the night to get to Porthwarra for first light, the star filled skies and light winds did not bode well for our chances of seeing the Hermit Thrush found at the foot of the valley the previous day. There were a lot of birders already there and we parked at the top of the hill as the car park appeared to be full. The bird had been seen in bushes and trees near the toilet block. As the light improved and it was possible to look into the strip of vegetation on either side of the stream the search began. Blackbirds, Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Robins were scrutinised but no sign of the Hermit Thrush. For 2 hours there was no sign of the bird. The weather and the light continued to improve and then movement. Not the bird but birders. Looking through the trees to the birders on the road beyond they were clearly focussing on something. It was time for me to move and join the throng, the bird was still present.
After a couple of false alarms the bird was finally seen. It had been flying up to pick Elderberries and was now sitting up in the bush preening, partially obscured at first but then in full view. Outstanding. There was no great panic after the initial positioning and re-positioning and birders were generally very helpful to one another, which was good to see. After being invisible for so long the bird gave further prolonged views much appreciated by everyone.