Sunday, 16 June 2013

Pacific Swift in Suffolk

The Birding Gods have been kind this year. With 2 good birds turning up either side of various excursions and not during them. The Dusky Thrush and particularly the Pacific Swift had the good grace to be 'available' at the right time, giving not only myself and many other birders the chance of catching up with these Mega rarities. I say particularly the Swift because I, like many others of a certain age missed the Cley bird. In fact the Pacific Swift in Norfolk was one of my first 'Twitches' and clearly one of the first, if not the first 'dips'. I well remember arriving at Cley beach car park late in the afternoon and staring hopelessly into the skies at what seemed like thousands of high altitude Common Swifts. Yesterday as my fellow travellers and I made our way to Trimley Marsh along a track with no end, we passed a string of satisfied birders who passed you trying to hide a slightly smug smile or giving you an encouraging word, 'only another 1/2 hour to go', or 'still there, it looks settled'
It was with some confidence therefore that we approached the gallery on the bank. The fact that people were looking in different directions didn't alarm me unduly but as it became clear no one was 'on the bird' and the fact it hadn't really been seen for 20 minutes raised doubts. The phrase hear we go again came to mind. The 20 minutes became 35 minutes and to make matters worse the weather was deteriorating rapidly. The rain started and gloom was in danger of descending when the cry went up. 'Its there', or something more imaginative. Where? as directions became more frenzied I caught a glimpse of a large swift with a white rump. Yes, you beauty. Not a very long look but its amazing what you can take in in a second and a half - and then the storm hit. I managed to cram into a hide during the worst of the torrential rain. After half an hour or so the rains eased and the sun returned and with the warm air the Swifts also returned. The Pacific Swift put on a wonderful display low over the lagoons in front of the hide. Memorable birding, with other birds at this well maintained site including: Marsh Harrier, Avocet and Spotted Redshank.

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