See mavlink messages being exhanged but cannot see wifi module on qGroundcontrol

Hey guys,

I am working on establishing wifi telemetry between my drone(Pixhawk 2.4.8+ESP8266) and my ground control station(QGroundcontrol). The drone and my laptop are connected via USB for initial setup. I am able to connect to the drone network, ping the ESP ip[].
I also see mavlink messages being exhanged from the esp webpage[see image below]. When I close QgroundControl, I stop seeing the Packet Received from GCS field being updated.

However I am unable to setup a wifi bridge when I follow this guide [I do not see the wifi bridge after adding a comm link]:

My ESP is configured to UDP on port 14550.

I would appreciate any help I can get in troubleshooting this issue further. Have been stuck on this for days .