It has been another busy couple of days on Bardsey...the Cretzschmar's Bunting has settled down nicely in the Lighthouse compound on the South End, where it carries out a predictable routine throughout the day: showing up on some seed in the compound for about five minutes every hour or so, before flying off into the gorse. It can occasionally be heard singing in the gorse, and sometimes will perch out on top of the wall right next to the viewing area. Views can be fleeting, but it can remain in the thrift feeding for over 10 minutes. It is a stunning bird, and very special to think that we have a sixth for Britain gracing the island.
Understandably, there are hundreds of other birders who also would like to see the bird, and this has sparked the island's largest every twitch: up to 100 people have been ferried across by the excellent Colin Evans every day (weather permitting). Boat trips have been starting at 0530 from Porth Meudwy, and continuing every hour for the rest of the morning. Virtually all of the visiting birders have happily connected with the bunting, which has been largely a result of great coordination between the Bardsey Bird Obs team and Colin. It has been a large undertaking, although a big thanks must go to Lee Evans for his excellent job in organising boats and taking the booking system. Not only has this meant that people are no longer queuing for hours in Porth Meudwy to get onto the island, but also that Steve Stansfield (warden) and Colin Evans (boatman) have not had to deal with anywhere near the amount of hassle that would otherwise have been generated.
Apart from the 17th, the weather has been very settled, with stunning blue skies, low winds, and warm temperatures. This has made for very pleasant visiting conditions, and also for good conditions to find a variety of insects and scarce lepidoptera for visitors. Several Thrift Clearwings have been found in the last few days, and shown to eager audiences, whilst other species such as Red-veined Darters, Painted Ladies, Green Tiger Beetle and Silver Ys have also been around to see.
One of the great things at the moment is meeting all of the enthusiastic oncoming birders, some of which I know, and some of which I have never met though have connected with over social media. It has been great meeting new people, and sharing this fantastic bird with the birding community. Several visiting birders have written some great pieces on the twitch. Here are a couple:
James Lowen's visit to the island: Click here
Mark Golley's RBA weekly round-up: Click here
Alan Davies and Ruth Millers' trip blog: Click here
A selection of images taken yesterday evening, when the bird showed really well: