Lost my Mojo

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.

Worst moment

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.

Yellow-breasted Bunting, Linosa, 4th November 2011 © Michele Viganò.

About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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7 Responses to Lost my Mojo

  1. Harry Hussey says:

    Ouch! Given that a few of us dipped on the last one in Ireland, in Oct 2010, this is very much a case of “let’s have a look at what you could have won”…seen some in China in spring, but pics of autumn birds still remind me of a missed chance on home turf. Maybe in 2012…

    • Martin Garner says:

      Glad you got there in the end Harry- I though it would be something like that but I would have had to ask someone

  2. Pim Wolf says:

    Martin, the bush is on the right…

  3. Harry Hussey says:

    No, I (and many others) have yet to see Yellow-breasted Bunting in Ireland. Can’t recall exactly off hand how many records there have been, but I seem to remember there being two in the 80s in Cork (both on Cape Clear, I think, and only one twitchable), one (untwitchable) on Tory in 1998 (with an equally untwitchable Paddyfield Warbler the same day: interestingly, the day after we dipped in 2010, a Paddyfield Warbler turned up on Loop Head, which thankfully did co-operate) and the Dursey bird, if accepted, last year (2010).

  4. Jérémy Savioz says:

    Hi Martin !
    I keep very frustrating memories of this bird ! The sighting was way too brief for my taste and it was a great shame that you couldn’t see it. This reduced considerably our enjoyment !
    Luckily, Miki and his camera were there to give us a souvenir of the bird 🙂
    See you,


    • Martin Garner says:


      Thanks- of course you were the finder which I should have mentioned, though I fully appreciate longer views very desirable

      Happy New Year!


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