Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush twitch 13 October 2017

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 30 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

There are some days that stand out in terms of how lucky I am to have the parents I do – obsessed with birds as much as me but still prepared to put their passion alongside rather than ahead of mine.

There had been news of a Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush found in the Brecon Beacons on a Thursday, whilst I was at school. I headed to school the next day which was Friday 13th October 2017 with no sitting of the bird before I left home, so I assumed that like many others, it was a one day bird. It was my last day of term before the autumn half term holiday, so I was hoping that the holidays was going to be good for birds. This year I am in Year 11 and taking my GCSE exams in June. I have my mock exams in November so really need to do lots of revision during the holiday too.

Mum was in London and expected back that evening so that Friday was just an average day for me. We are not allowed to look at our phones at school and so I didn’t pick up the texts from my dad.

I boarded my school bus home at 3.25 pm as usual, when I saw my dad making his way from one bus to another. He knocked on our bus window and asked if I was on board? I knew I had to get off the bus, so told my mates that I probably had a dentist appointment. As I got off the bus, he whispered (so as not to embarrass me) that the Rock Thrush was still there and that we had just about enough time to get there.  What a legend my dad is. He had already seen a Rock Thrush before and all this effort was just so that Mum and I could see it.

We drove straight towards Bristol and met up in a car park with Mum and her friend Lorna, who was staying with us. It was to be Lorna’s first twitch! They had been in London for a couple of nights and Mum had rushed back early to meet us.

Dad drove pretty fast to get to the beautiful Brecon Beacons in Mid Wales, getting us there at 5.30pm.  As we rushed along the path to where the bird was being seen, we bumped into our long time birding friend and big British twitcher Julian Thomas. He told us that the Rock Thrush was still there but was being seen a little way away from the path. It had been raining and was very cloudy, so the light was fading fast.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig digiscoping Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Brecon Beacons 13 October 2017
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig digiscoping Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Brecon Beacons 13 October 2017
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig  at Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush twitch, Brecon Beacons 13 October 2017
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig  at Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush twitch, Brecon Beacons 13 October 2017
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

When we got to the bird, it was perched in view, but some way away.  Once we had seen it, although not fantastically, it was a big relief.  We then watched and waited and eventually were rewarded with slightly better views just as it started to rain. It was my second new bird of the autumn and great to see this European Rock Thrush.

Record shot of Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Brecon Beacons 13 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Record shot of Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Brecon Beacons 13 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Needless to say, Lorna was not overly impressed with her first (and probably last) twitch!
After some chips in Abergavenny, we made it home by 9 pm. On the way home, I posted my very terrible “record shots” on twitter, much to the hilarity of my birding followers. The Rock Thrush was also a new bird in the world for me (4724), which was fantastic.

Postscript

The Rock Thrush stayed around for a while, which was lucky, as we were able to return on Monday 30th October 2017, which was an inset day before I went back the next day.

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 23 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 23 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 23 October 2017
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

This time the weather was clear and sunny and the bird really confiding. We got some brilliant views and had another lovely birding day out with my parents.

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