Northumberland's purple patch continues. I was just getting ready for work yesterday when news broke of a swift species with a white-rump. With the two possibilities being Pacific or White-rumped Swift I had to go. A couple of phone calls to get the morning off work and I was off.
Arriving at the south end of the north pool at East Chevington there were already 50ish birders all scoping the sky to the north and all shouting different directions. For what seemed like days I was unable to pick out the, now confirmed, Pacific Swift among the Common congeners. Swearing a bit (!!) I had to shut out the conflicting shouted directions and eventually picked it up flashing low over the pool. Excellent distant scope views as it flew over the heads of birders on the north side. Superficially like a Common Swift it was clearly slimmer and more scythe-like wings, with a more elongated, deeper forked tail. The neat white rump was easy to pick out at distance.
With the bird in the bag and time running out I wanted to get to the north end for photos. I legged it back to the car past a singing Cetti's Warbler, the raucous Great Reed Warbler and a Marsh Harrier. Arriving at the north end to distant views of the swift, as it was now flying arriving the heads of the birders that I had just left. Luckily it flew back north and gave unbelievable views as it swooped around us, sometimes just a few feet away at break-neck speed. Too fast for me, I could only manage the following shots, but really I was more than happy to just watch.
Back down to work and the news that an American Golden Plover had turned up at Cresswell. An evening trip followed and the bird did the decent thing and stayed, being the only bird on the pool to the north of the causeway. In first summer plumage, it was a plumage tick for me and was a really faded and washed-out bird.
|American Golden Plover|
To the south of the causeway there was very vocal Little Gull and a distant, feeding Spoonbill.
A quick look at the Ring-necked Duck at Bothal on the way home topped off a stunning day.