Saturday 15th March 2014.
A trip to Wales to see a Great Spotted Cuckoo. I met up with Paul and Brendan at Maple Lodge at 05:30 and we set of for Penally Station hoping to see a Great Spotted Cuckoo at Giltar Point. Our Friday evening discussion was really whether we should wait for news or "go for it", we chose the latter option. A decent run down to Wales and some encouragement on Twitter via RBN at about 07:00 that the bird was still there. Then again when we were only a few miles away at about 09:00 news that the Cuckoo was "showing well". Surely this bird must be "nailed on"! We arrived at Penally Station and parked up, a few birders had seen it and were leaving. We made our way to where some birders were assembled in the dunes on the golf course. But on route were told the Cuckoo had flown off towards Caldey Island. Oh dear, missed it by ten minutes! We waited for over an hour to see if it would return but then decided to have a wander around the headland to see what else was on offer. Not a bad haul was to be had for our year list with; Razorbill, Guillemot, Kittiwake, Fulmar, Shag, Stonechat, Rock Pipit and 4 Chough did their best to raise our spirits. Then back to the golf course where the body language of the remaining birders was not good. We stood in the dunes waiting patiently but as the news that someone had seen the Cuckoo fly to Caldey Island we decided to travel to Brierley to see Two-barred Crossbills. We had travelled 47 miles when news came through that the Cuckoo was back. Paul did a U turn and we headed back. On arrival at Penally Station we parked up and did our best "twitchy walks" to where some birders were viewing some brambles amongst the dunes. A quick look through our bins and "gotcha" you little rascal! The pressure now off we enjoyed some really nice scope views for about 15 minutes as the Great Spotted Cuckoo feasted on caterpillars. Although we had really nice views through our scopes the Great Spotted Cuckoo was just a bit too far for any decent photo's even by my standards. We were all hoping the bird would come closer but our hopes were dashed when it was flushed by golfers, one of whom was wearing a nice pink tank top and matching pink checked trousers. The bird flew to the far end of the golf course where we could just make it out perched in a tree but it soon flew out of sight. We hung around for some time but the bird didn't return. We decided to head for home and again on the way home the bird was reported on the news services. Good news for quite a few birders on site that had not connected.
Thanks must go to Paul for an epic bout of driving and to Brendan for wearing his brand new "birding jeans"!
Some distant Great Spotted Cuckoo pics below.