One bird I really hoped to see (a life tick) this year was a Penduline tit and we had half a chance to do that this week. Two had arrived in Gloucestershire and remained for several days but if we travelled to try to see them would they still be there? One of the beauties of this year off was so we could take advantage of such opportunities so it seemed daft not to go for this one. We couldn’t go straight away but were warming with the idea of going on Wednesday and staying a couple of nights. Unfortunately we couldn’t tie it in with catching up with some relatives that live nearby but that gives us an excuse to go again soon!
We booked a hotel but would you believe it all day Tuesday no one saw the birds same applied to Wednesday but in fairness the weather was foul! Too late the room was booked and we were excited at the thought so we went anyway. Tuesday night and I had the worst nights sleep I have had for a very long time due I think to feelings of excitement that I might see the bird and also feeling we were being daft, wasting time and money travelling for a bird (or two) that may well have gone and for all I know might be flying to Norfolk! Most of the journey was through rain and we did have times of wondering why we were travelling over four hours but at other moments we were just plain excited at the thought of this special life tick we were hoping for.
Before going to our hotel we decided to find the site and as the weather had cheered up a bit we decided to try our luck. We spent an hour or so watching the place they had last been seen, we were watching goldfinches, reed buntings, meadow pipits but no Penduline tit. Locals seemed to think they may still be in the area just keeping low to try to keep out of the weather so we were still feeling optimistic. We were freezing so decided we would get out of the weather too and call it a day.
It is a nice site and very easy to access, well once you have fought your way through the mud but that applies to almost everywhere we go lately! We decided to make an early start on Thursday morning and we did just that. As we got out of the car we saw a pair of Chiffchaff (the one pictured on this page is one I took some while ago in our garden) When we arrived one other person was there before us and as we met up with her she told us excitedly that she had just seen one! Phew it had all been worth it, sure enough up popped the Penduline tit and thankfully Ian got it in his telescope and we both saw it, just the one.
Moments later it went down in the reeds and we didn’t see it again, but we had seen it, fantastic!!! Would I have liked it to stay? Yes! Was I hoping to get photographs of it? Yes! But never mind it was the first one I have ever seen and with a little bit of luck it won’t be my last. To my knowledge neither of them have been seen since so I cant help but think how fortunate we were. Thank goodness we made an early start and thank goodness too that the other birder (Katrina) had just spotted it.
So should we, would we, did we? YES!
Were we right to go? 100% yes, but were we right to wait the number of days we did, probably not, so next time maybe we will act more quickly.
We remained there for nearly two more hours hoping to see it again but then decided to go and see what Slimbridge had to offer, but I am going to post that separately later tonight
Lunch with one of my brothers, sister-in-law and nephew on the way home was a real bonus to the trip.
Penduline tit was bird number 120
We have also had both roe and muntjac deer in the past week.