Monday 27 December 2021

Pacific Diver: Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir, Glamorgan

Ever since a Pacific Diver was found on a Glamorgan reservoir on the 11th, Brian had been itching to see it. It would be a lifer for all three of us and would also complete the set of divers seen in Britain. But it just hadn't been possible. Transport issues, no entry to the reservoir, and only very distant views from outside contributed to our decision not to travel. But with the bird's continued presence and a seemingly more tolerant approach to birders allowed on-site within the last week we cracked and made plans for this morning. 
We left at 5am, and after 200 miles along the M4, we arrived around 8.30 having encountered some heavy rain showers on the way. We parked in Margam Cemetery and were soon joined by another couple of birders, one of which had made the trip earlier in the week and knew a good spot to scope the reservoir from. I hadn't even set the scope up when Brian had spotted the diver in the Northeast corner!

Viewing area from Margam Crematorium

Pacific Diver


Thursday 23 December 2021

Essex and London birding in December

With Brian's car off the road since the trip to Flamborough, It was down to dad to provide the transport. we made several trips within the home county in December.  On the 12th we twitched a local rarity, a Red-necked Grebe at King George V Reservoir, and managed to connect with all five species of grebe while on-site as well as decent views of the Great Northern Diver for another welcome year tick.

King George V Reservoir

On the 15th we made an early morning trip to Wallasea Island,  shortly after parking the car we enjoyed close views of Corn Bunting and had distant views of a ringtail Hen Harrier. As we made our way out towards Caroline's Hide, three Twite flew directly overhead and landed among the reeds ahead of us. From the hide, we located three Spoonbill on Stokes lagoon and a male Merlin perched on a small bush in the distance. As we started the walk back to the car Brian spotted another ringtail Hen Harrier and we watched it for several minutes as it hunted along the sea wall bordering the River Crouch.

The path leading to Caroline's Hide

One of the views from the hide

While at Wallasea, the continued presence of the Black Guillemot at Gunners Park was reported. We were only a few miles away and decided to head south and hope it was still present. A short walk to the sea wall and the Guillemot was seen immediately to the left of Barge pier. A new addition to my Essex list.

Black Guillemot

Yesterday we made the seven-mile trip to Walthamstow Marsh, hoping to connect with the Dusky Warbler that had been present since the 14th. After a couple of hours, there was no sign of the bird, and we headed towards the car park. We walked along the footpath bordering the railway line and met another birder who said he had heard the Dusky Warbler. After several minutes we heard it call and after staking out the area, eventually enjoyed several excellent sightings as it flitted about among the brambles either side of the fence.