Enthused in October

After several months with very little birding done a report of a Rock Thrush near to Abergavenny piqued my interest. It was reported on Thursday evening and I decided that if my work schedule was kind, and that it had stayed overnight I would head for the hills. I finished work at around 12.00 and it hadn’t been reported so a little disappointed i headed for home. Whilst eating my lunch I checked on Twitter and saw that it was indeed still around. A quick exit from the house saw me, at a bit past one heading west on the M4 hoping that I would be ahead of the inevitable Friday traffic chaos. Normally when I go to this area I route myself via Gloucester and the Forest of Dean to avoid paying for the Severn Crossing. Time did not allow for this luxury so I soon found myself paying out £6.50 for the privilege of entering Wales. I knew the area the Thrush was in from previous trips to Blorenge for Red Grouse so had no problem finding it. On arrival I managed to find a parking place and after getting my coat and scope heading off in the wind and light drizzle for the quarry. I soon found the right place and joined the row of birders already there. I found myself next to David another Wiltshire birder and was soon onto the bird. Despite the conditions it was showing well, managing to find some sheltered spots. I stayed for about half-an-hour, ever conscious of the time and the traffic on the return journey, knowing that I would receive a frosty reception from my wife if she got home from work before I was back. Fortunately the motorway was kind to me and I made it with ease in less than four hours for the whole trip. The following day I was going walking and decided to go from Hackpen Hill to Fyfield Down. For a change I took the binoculars and was rewarded with 30 species including Tree Sparrow, Golden Plover and Grey Partridge. My next opportunity to get out was on Sunday morning and I decided to head to the Shorncote area of the Water Park. I was really disappointed to find the area was quite neglected with poor views from the hides. The only plus was that the paths had been improved. However I understand from Ben at the Water Park that all being well things may well be improving in the not too distant future. Good news as this could be a great birding area. While I was in the hide I heard that a Ring-necked Duck had been found on Lake 74. This would be a Wiltshire first for me so off I went. Meeting up with Nigel and several other locals at Twitchers we scoured the visible areas of water with no luck. Despite this three passes by a female Marsh Harrier made the visit worthwhile. Just before leaving several skeins of Geese flew in, mainly Canada and Greylag but also the now regular group of fourteen Barnacle. Inevitably within minutes of arriving home the duck was found so I decided to head back. Unfortunately it was only visible from the hide at the northern end of the lake which is a good fifteen minute fast walk from the nearest parking. Still needs must and sweating a little I arrived at the hide where I managed a brief view of it before spending a frustrating few minutes trying, at a fair distance to get good views of a constantly diving duck. Eventually  it settled in one spot and although still spending a good bit of time underwater did allow reasonable views. Great Spot and Jay were both seen on the walk back to the car finishing off a good day. Maybe, just maybe i am getting back into it.

3 responses to “Enthused in October

  1. Very interesting.glad you are back in birding.

  2. Pleased to see you back

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