Saturday, 13 June 2015

Western Clover, Bardsey Island

For most of the past week I'd been planning a trip to the east coast this weekend, specifically Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire in the hope of seeing both the broad-billed sandpiper and the white-rumped sandpiper which have present for about three days.

However when news broke yesterday that the Cretzschmar's bunting which had been found on Bardsey Island on Wednesday, but which had not been seen on Thursday, had been seen again and even heard singing on Friday, albeit for a brief period, I impulsively booked myself onto an early morning boat from near Aberdaron on the Llyn Peninsular to Bardsey for today. If I'm honest I thought there was probably only a 10% chance of seeing the bird, but at £30 for the crossing and with two of us sharing the petrol, it seemed a good oportunity to spend half a day on an island I'd never been to before. After all, plenty of people who aren't even birders visit islands like this just for the scenary and the isolation, so even without the bunting it was still likely to be a great place to be.

As expected the bird didn't show today, there were abut 40 other birders looking but it's a big island for a small bird if it wants to be elusive. However there were still lots of other great things to see, including chough, manx shearwater and the usual sea birds. Flowers included the rare western clover Trifolium occidentale which was a new species for me.

Year: 224 (Manx shearwater)

Oh, and the two sandpipers weren't reported from Frampton Marshes today so it was a good job I didn't go there......

Bardsey Island. You can see the bird observatory with one of the Heligoland traps in the bottom right of the picture.

Trifolium occidentale western clover. Very rare and very similar to white clover T. repens, but notice that the leaflets are smaller, almost circular and umarked (T. repens has a white mark on the leaf). Not aparent from this photo, western clover also has red stipules.

Thrift Ameria maritima.

There were swaths of thrift across the southern part of the island.

Buckshorn plantain Plantago coronopus.

English stonecrop Sedum anglicum.

Sheep's-bit scabious Jasione montana.

Grey seals.

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