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Friday, 17 February 2012

The COMMON YELLOWTHROAT in Gwent - 8th British record

I was one of at least 400 people today twitching the Gwent first-year male COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and first of all, I must congratulate the finder on an outstanding discovery and secondly, say a massive thank you to Darryl Spittle and other local observers involved in the crucial organisation of parking facilities. A truly top job and very much appreciated by all those that visited.

The bird itself is pretty difficult, fast-moving and generally elusive. It is ranging widely over an area of farmland and without large numbers of observers, could well prove hard to locate. I have marked on the map above the circuit is was following this morning (marked in red). These are the hedgerows it was frequenting.

After the initial panic had subsided, and many observers actually had a 'tickable' view rather than just a fleeting flight view, the bird was watched feeding in the grass for over 20 minutes, affording some excellent views. In fact, it seemed to favour the grassy edges of the hedgerows, eeking out tiny grubs in the damp soil and grass blades. At very close range, its weak 'tacc' call-note could be heard.


Leave the M4 at Junction 28 and then head NNW on the Caerphilly road (the A 4072). Continue towards Caerphilly on the next two roundabouts and after less than a mile on the A 468, turn left in Rhiwderyn at the Ruperra Arms. Take this Pentre Porth Road SW for just over a mile and then turn right onto the very narrow, single track road adjacent to the brown 'Farmer's Daughter Restaurant' signs. Drive very carefully and slowly down this road to just beyond the Bryphedydd Farm and park in the field on the left (please note that the car park opens at 0700 hours). The field is at SO 258 868 and the bird is in the valley to the east of the road.

This morning, the bird first appeared at 0825 hours.