A Little Bunting showing intermittently at Ashdown Forest was tempting. But another Little Bunting showing down to a few feet was considered a much better option.
So at 5am this morning we met up with Brian and began the drive along the M25 and onto the M4 heading for Glamorgan.
A very straight forward drive, saw us arriving at Forest Farm around 7.30. Not knowing the precise location of the hide, saw us take a few wrong turns, before eventually doubling back on ourselves and locating the utility room and right next door the hide.
Upon entering we found the Little Bunting showing down to a few feet right in front of the small narrow opening in the hide.
While we were there the Bunting seemed to follow a similar pattern of dropping in to feed and drink, then fly off. It would disappear from view for 15-20 minutes then suddenly appear again to resume the same routine.
The right hand side of the hide held a couple of feeders, and these were regularly visited by Coal, Great and Blue Tits, Robins, Nuthatch and Bullfinch. With both male and female seen.
With time against us we decided to visit Cardiff Bay and search for the Lesser Scaup that has taken up residence here.
From the car park at the Wetlands Centre we took the path down to the boardwalk and quickly found the target bird. It was quite distant and stayed that way during our time there.
From here we decided to try to locate the Bonaparte's Gull. Parking up off Rover Way, and walking alongside the very pleasant smelling sewage treatment works. Plenty of Black-headed Gulls on show along with several Ringed Plover and Curlews, but no Bonaparte's Gull could be found.
The Forest of Dean was our final destination and a visit to Parkend Church, where shortly after parking up a single male Common Crossbill was found perched in the nearby trees.
Last visit of the day was to the New fancy Viewpoint. This is Goshawk territory and reaching the raised viewpoint at the top of the hill I could see why it has proved so popular.
No luck locating any Goshawks today, but the weather wasn't ideal. A location that I'm sure we will pay another visit to in the near future.
Leaving the view point a single Red Kite floating across the road above the houses was seen. It wasn't until we were much closer to home along the Watford stretch of the M25 that a second Red Kite was spotted.
A very enjoyable day, adding my first lifer of 2015 and four year ticks to the total.