Cracking trip to Gwent today for the singing male Marmora’s Warbler, with Hawky, Monkey and Squeaky (oops, sorry…). Thanks to a very early morning message from RBA (cheers Stuart!) we were on the road before six with the knowledge that the bird was still present, and enjoyed a fuss-free drive down the M4 and into the land of the daffodils and dragons. McBreakfast was procured, and we were on site by about 8.45am… and the bird showed immediately, in full song on a dry stone wall. Tick!
Not a great photo, I know, but scope views were prolonged and superb as the bird circled around us, proclaiming its territory. You never can tell with single vagrants, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this one were to hang around for quite some time. Also noted here were three Whinchat, a couple of Tree Pipit and a Raven. Although rather hazy, the views down from this edge of the Brecon Beacons were pretty good as well – certainly a bit different to East London!
After taking our fill of the warbler, we headed back to the Forest of Dean to enjoy Pied and Spotted Flycatchers and Wood Warblers at Nagshead RSPB. Other twitchers from the south-east had the same idea – good to see Adrian, Matthew and Simon there for a quick chat.
However, none of us could definitively identify a couple of cool insects that I’d photographed – can you confirm my guesses?
We finished off our time beyond the Severn with lunch in The Ostrich Inn, in Newland (thanks to the ever-reliable Good Pub Guide). The food and local beer was absolutely superb – I have never seen a Ploughmans quite like it!
In summary – a great bird showing well; great location and views; great company and a great pub. Does it get better?!