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Saturday, 23 June 2012

A swift twitch

I ended up going by train (for a change) to New Brighton today for the Little Swift. As a public transport hater it wasn't pleasant, but it got me there. I'm now pretty knackered.

Andy Holden put me on the LITTLE SWIFT when I arrived. It kept distant over the river most of the time but, in the near-on two hours I was there, did come very close on about three occasions (sometimes whizzing low over the crowd's heads). I find swifts and hirundines to be some of the most amazing birds so I really enjoyed watching this exciting bird hawking around - it's been on my special wishlist for some time. The large white throat and rump really pierced the hideous industrial backdrop. The square-ended tail also helped pick it up, as well as, of course, the bird's smaller size. Slightly more subtle cues I picked up were that it seemed to flap more rapidly at times than Common Swift and tended to glide on bowed wings. A thin white leading edge to the 'arm' was also noticeable at times. The wings were shorter and slightly fatter than on Common Swift - this was especially noticeable on the 'arm' when the bird paused and fluttered in the air (as Common Swifts do). The inevitable happened and a House Martin was called as the bird at one point by somebody :-)