Saturday, 20 June 2015

Twitching Teloschistes flavicans, Bardsey Island

Nine days ago I'd never been to Bardsey but I've now been three times and feel like one of the regulars! The Cretzschmar's bunting has apparently become a little more eratic in its behaviour in the past day or so, and yesterday went missing for about four hours. We were on the third boat to the island today and our delight at hearing that boat 1 had connected was tempered slightly by the news that it had only been a very brief sighting and that boat 2 had so far been unsuccesful. However we hadn't been there more than 20 minutes when the bird flew onto the lighthouse compound wall for a few seconds before dropping down onto the floor and seed. We watched it for several minutes on the ground before it flew off over the roof of the lighthouse building. An excellent performance and fully justified my descision to go again. Last time I saw the bunting I had binocular only views, this time I had it in  the scope for most of the time.

Then we moved away to let the next boat load in, and we went for a walk around the island.The weather closed in a bit for an hour or so, with thick mist and heavy drizzle, but eventually it cleared and it became a nice sunny day. There were a few choughs including a family party, and plenty of the usual seabirds on the water.

Cretzchmar's bunting

A big twitch Bardsey style. Everybody waiting patiently, getting great views of a stunning bird and then moving on when they have seen it to let the next boat load in, and all organised perfectly by Bardsey Bird Observatory, boatman Colin Evans and our leader Lee Evans. No big camera lenses waiting all day at the front for yet another record shot and no driving through the night only to find you can't even get on the boat. Young and old, sane and insane, everybody was able to enjoy the bird and the island, not just a select few who are young enough or fit enough or mad enough to not mind camping out all night on the boat slipway. Thanks to everybody concerned.

Having succesfully twitched the bird, we then went on to twitch a lichen, Teloschistes flavicans or golden hair lichen. This is a rare species in the UK being largely confined to south west England and a few western parts of Wales.


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