The landing sign at the key.
On Thursday the 4th June i headed for Skokholm Island in Pembrokeshire and my target bird was the Swainson's Thrush , a very early start meant i made great progress and arrived ready for the boat across to Skokholm in plenty of time.
Skokholm and Skomer are really the land of the Puffin and i must confess i have never been to either of these islands before so was really looking forward to it , there was 40 birders who had booked the boat across to Skokholm and with the added news from the Island that the Swainson's Thrush was still present meant the atmosphere was quite electric.
The nerves were jangling as i waited and eventually we were all on the boats and heading to Skokholm , plenty of Gannets , Razorbills , Guillemots , Puffins & Manx Shearwaters were seen on route to the Island .
Puffin in flight.
We were met at the key by one of the volunteer wardens who gave us a brief run down of what and where we were allowed to go and then we set off to the viewing area where the Swainson's Thrush has set up home , there was only a smallish viewing area to look through and i have to say all the 40 birders present were superb in making sure everyone of us could see through to where the Thrush has been seen .
And then the Swainson's Thrush flew up from the nettles on to a low branch and within 2 to 3 seconds was gone again . all i saw was the tail , wings and pinkish coloured legs , so yes i have seen it but no way could i tick it on that initial view , staying calm i thought it shows every 20 mins approx so i have at least a couple more chances , it then flew back from the right and i missed it completely that time , checking the time and it was now 11.22am , we were told the boat goes back at 11.30am .
Another Puffin flight shot.
Thinking i had seen it but could not tick it i was beginning to think my chance had gone and then the warden Richard Brown made an announcement , the boat has now been arranged to leave at 1pm or 4pm to give us all a better chance of seeing the Swainson's Thrush well , what a great relief , game on and then the Swainson's Thrush gave it self up completely and started showing very very well indeed .
Note the ring on it's leg.
The group of birders present were in elation ( me included) , this is a cracking bird to see in a fantastic setting , certainly my favourite birding twitch of the year so far.
Whilst watching the Swainson's Thrush a Firecrest appeared on a couple of occasions plus a Chough flew over calling as it went , thousands of Puffin's , Razorbills & Guillemots made this a real birders paradise.
I would just like to say a massive thank you to Richard Brown and his group of volunteers for making this fantastic day possible .
The afterglow of a successful twitch.