It’s been a great weekend here in South Wales with blue skies and temperatures so warm that on occasion t-shirts were more than adequate. Saturday started at dawn with the short drive to Porth Clais in Pembrokeshire where we were hoping to catch up with a very showy Isabelline Shrike. Finding the location was no problem at all but finding the Shrike was a whole other story. We checked out the fabled ‘five bar orange gate’ where the bird had been showing down to a couple of foot in the days previous, but it seemed we were not going to be so lucky. With so much suitable habitat in the area I wasn’t that surprised and after a search of the surrounding area yielded no further sign we had to take the dip on the chin. Not to fear as with a coastline recently voted as “the worlds greatest region for 2012” by Lonely Planet at our disposal, we were spoilt for choice as to how to spend the day. Walking around to Saint David’s soon had any thoughts of elusive Shrike’s banished, but I’ll save that for another post.
Later that evening we were back at home and with the darkness drawing in I resorted to the internet for some amusement. To my great surprise I found that an Isabelline Wheatear had just been reported on North Gower at Wernffrwd. The coincidence in name did not escape me but it was not until today that I was able to find out if our earlier luck was to continue. Fortunately it was not and we were treated to superb views of the Wheatear feeding in relatively close proximity to the gathered throngs early morning and again late evening.
The photo above was the best I could manage given the birds small size and my similarly diminutive camera, but for all its over sharpening and cropping it serves as an adequate record shot. In beautiful lighting it was a treat to watch a bird that in all honesty I would never have picked out as something notable if I had stumbled across it myself. I can only echo the local birding communities gratitude to Rob Taylor for a superb find and for those who got the word out so quickly. I’ll leave you with the prerequisite group shot of everyone enjoying another of Gower’s red letter days. The Isabelline Wheatear is in there somewhere no doubt sat on one of it’s favourite hunting tools – a pile of horse manure!