Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Uwchmynydd - Western Subalpine Warbler!

I'd decided the previous evening to hopefully add another lifer with a showy (Western) Subalpine Warbler performing so well at Uwchmynydd. Can anyone out there pronounce that lovely name please?

The only downside was that that very same evening a local tick hungry ringer was running his mist net through his fingers (having failed to do the deed with success when the Subalpine first appeared)  He was determined to put some serious bragging rights on his ringing list!)

He had succeeded today and tried to persuade me that he had done all  the birders a favour!  With such a low fat index - the bird was not going anywhere he trilled! Oh yes it was -  into the undergrowth for as long as possible and as deep as it could hide!

I joined the group of disgruntled birders late morning and a cracking day with the anticipated showy bird turned into an endurance nightmare!

By mid afternoon, the numerous Stonechats were becoming quite tiresome and the only click of the shutter produced this Linnet!


A six hour round trip for a linnet eh. Not impressed and neither were any of the assembled birders, those who had stayed that is! Eventually by a stroke of good fortune, the finder of the bird came on the scene and would you believe it - he refound the Warbler!

In a tangled mass of dead bracken and gorse - yay Subalpine Warbler on the list :-) Not that anyone was feeling in a forgiving mood!


It didn't get any better, it showed briefly on the path, then flew....


It showed again on the gorse, then flew.....






Yeah we should be so lucky! Oh well at least the bird was eventually seen. It didn't want to be clasped in someone's, clammy hand so was not hanging about to pose.

Rant nearly over but there was one more twist of the knife - the 'list hungry' ringing duo had also set their sights on the Woodchat Shrike down the road! You can guess the rest - it had eventually plucked up courage to appear again later in the day over 100m distant. But yes, we should be so lucky to see it!


I've never twitched a 'trapped bird' scenario and certainly would never contemplate one in future. Ringing of tired vagrants is as despicable as the photographer poking his big lens up it's nether regions except.....  it's done in the name of science isn't it. Funny how all the people I've mentioned this to (including some of my ringer mates) have responded in the same manner..... 'it's another one for their list!'.

I did meet some thoroughly decent local birders, those who stuck it out, got the bird but there were quite unanimous in their assessment of the situation - "a law unto themselves" if anyone else had dared to approach the bird.......

I've generally been supportive of bird ringing and know quite a few ringers, they do good work! There is an ethical and  'antisocial' side to the ringing of rarities however . My personal opinion is that a line was crossed here - I'm sure the powers that be will rally round in support  - in the name of science.....

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