Linosa Diaries (cont’d)
Rare bird hunting, migration watching, tiny island dwelling. It’s a game of highs and lows. I arrived on Linosa in early November, having already had a very good autumn. However it was a place, with a mix of birds, with which I was unfamiliar. I had the warmest of welcomes which was maintained throughout. I did however at times feel about as sharp as a spoon when out in the field. One of those times when your ‘birding mojo’ just seems to have left you.
I found a Yellowhammer, just up the road from our digs. A big rarity for Sicily. I got Ottavio on to it- and island tick for him. For some of the core Linosa team not just an island tick but a lifer! I was chuffed- not for long though. A short while later ’the 9′ present on the island were all in the same area looking for the Yellowhammer. I decided to head back to our house for change of clothes in rising temperatures. I walked past this bush:
Turns out I must have been just arriving at the house when a yellow bunting type was detected, perched in the bush on the right. (A bush I had walked past only minutes earlier.) “Is this the Yellowammer?” Ottavio was close by and took one look.
“No. It looks like a Yellow-breasted Bunting!”
It then flew across the road, landed in the freshly tilled field for less than a minute. Miki fired off a few shots before it flew off- never to be seen again. UN-BE- LEIVABLE. Of the nine just 3 saw the bird. Gripped as I was it certainly showcased why Linosa is so cool and why these guys are affected with the disease that keeps them coming back to this tiny isolated Mediteranean island.