NGB Bardsey Trip – Day 6 (2) – 2/x/14

After breakfast, we headed towards the south of the island. In the Narrows, a few Redshank, Turntone and Oystercatcher were milling around. We met Matt, Josie and Susan here and began to head back to the obs. On the way, we watched three freshly arrived Wheatear hopping around above Solfach.

The others told us that they had also had a good morning, picking up most of the commoner species along with several we had not managed. When we arrived back at the obs, the staff were looking worryingly smug. They did, however, eventually decide that the bird they had seen was sufficiently good that we should all know about it, so Steffan told Matt that he had seen a Pied Flycatcher in Cristin Withy. We headed down there immediately, and after a little while the bird obliged, showing very well amongst the dense foliage.

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Myself and Liam headed up Pen Cristin in search of the HOOPOE, which had been last seen there a few hours earlier. As we headed through Ty Pellau, we heard a Little Owl – a new bird for our teams tally! We began to head up the hill, towards where we had heard the owl, but were surprised and delighted to flush the HOOPOE immediately behind the Porters farm at Ty Pellau! We watched it fly up the hill to Pen Cristin and drop into an open area surrounded by gorse. We both dropped all our kit (apart from my camera) and began to crawl low through the gorse. I was very aware that the bird had not been seen well by anyone thus far, always distant and flighty. As we carefully rounded the corner to the open area, there was no sign of the bird. I moved forward to check the next field and as I did so, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye.

And there it was, no more than 15ft away!! With my heart thumping, I managed to rattle of a few shots before the bird flew off. Looking at the back of the camera they looked fairly sharp. I was delighted!

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We hurried back to show the others, who were heading back from the north end with several more species for the tally, such as Kestrel. We stayed at the obs for a little while, before myself, Liam and Susan headed down to Cristin Withy to have a go for Water Rail. Unfortunately, we failed in this and when we arrived back we were gutted to here that a Pomarine Skua and a Great Skua had both passed by in our absence. Fortunately another Great Skua flew by a few moments later and was seen by all, but the Pom proved to be the last of the week, which was galling for me as I have now missed eight of these impressive birds for one reason or another.

I could hardly complain though, as I had had a cracking day. The evening was very enjoyable, as everyone on the island was treated to Steve’s chilli and some great company. Later at the log, we discovered that we had lost by six species. We were a little disappointed, but it had been a good effort and a really great day! We also lost the bird quiz by an even narrower margin – 40 points to 43, but it was a very entertaining evening anyway!

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