Life’s a twitch

Red-flanked Bluetail

This is becoming a worrying trend. Third twitch in last few weeks. Third bird. Tick.

OK. That doesn’t exactly put us in line for membership of UK400, but in comparison with recent years we are on a roll. This time we were off to see the long staying Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus) in Gloucestershire. Although this would be a lifer for both Jan and myself, the fact that it was en-route to the annual reunion of the Friends of Skokholm and Skomer Islands in Bishops Cleave (well nearly en-route – you know me) made it an easy decison.

We assumed that given the length of time it had been around we would be largely on our own, and given we didn’t have huge amount of

time to spare there was a concern that we wouldn’t connect with this smart little bird before before we had to move on. But as soon as we arrived at the parking spot, two dozen cars gave the clue away that maybe there might be one or two others looking along the valley at Marshfield already. And what a glorious day to look.

After yesterday’s fierce winds and driving rain, today was still with clear blue skies. Spring was definitely in the air. A local robin made that evident by making sure the bluetail knew whose territory she (he?) was in. And the bluetail was straightforward to find. Only slightly helped by the dozen or so telescopes and long-lenses pointed at the bird.

Unfortunately time was a bit against so although we had some fine views I only managed to grab a couple of record shots. Unfortunately neither of them showed the red flanks. Or the blue tail for that matter. But hey ho. The location was a beautiful setting for this pretty little bird. A green valley, babbling brook, imposing farm houses. Stupid sheep but they looked the part.