It's been a long hard spring on the Orme with not many migrants and only a few expected goodies turning up - Dotterel, Firecrest and Lapland Bunting. I was about to give up for the summer to be honest, however yesterday's Paddyfield Warbler on Bardsey gave me the boost for one last push on the headland.
The morning started well with a nice singing male Whinchat in the cemetery and a couple of Willow Warblers that looked new arrivals; things were looking up. I walked along the wall towards the limestones, checking the bushes as I went. A nice Goldcrest was an unusual June migrant and again gave me some hope that migration wasn't over. As I approached the main patch of hawthorns a small grey warbler flew into a hawthorn and immediately flew out and back along the wall from where I had come from. The brief view was enough to excite me and I retraced my steps. The Goldcrest was still present and I decided to attract it closer with a bit of pishing. What happened next, I didn't expect. A head popped out of the nearest hawthorn.........Subalpine warbler!
Luckily Pete Alderson was in the cemetery so I phoned him. I didn't actually see the bird again in the next 20 minutes as I waited for him to arrive. And as I had only seen the head, I started to doubt myself. I'm sure the bird uttered a quiet but harsh 'teck' sound from deep within the bush so was confident it was still there.
Pete arrived and after a short wait, the bird performed well and a few pics were obtained. Rob Sandham then jogged up the path and the bird showed well to the four of us present.
This is the first record for the Great Orme, and the third for the county of Conwy. The other two were in a Llandudno garden in May 2000, while the other was in Penmaenmawr, also in May 2000. Just six have been recorded in North Wales outside of Bardsey, which holds the monopoly on the species with an incredible 26 records! Surely the best site in the UK to see this species. This bird, follows hot on the heels of the popular Uwchmynydd male in April of this year.
Just goes to show, even when you feel like giving up, the good one might be around that next corner.