Bittersweet, but mostly sweet

Pallid Swift montage by De Ruwe Philip from Facebook

There has been an unprecedented influx of Pallid Swifts into Britain in the last four weeks, as birders reading this will know. In the first week I was actually watching the odd one in Porto Santo. The second two weeks I was in Shetland; they got as far as Orkney but Shetland looks like a bridge too far. And this week I was busy at work and that was that, or so I thought.

Today had already been enjoyable in birding terms. After dropping Jane off at the college I did the monthly WeBS count at Kincraig Lake. There were a couple of vocal Kingfishers, one of which I saw in flight and perched. The walk from the car park to the office added a Peregrine and a Grey Wagtail.

As I packed my things up in my office in central Blackpool tonight I was quite gobsmacked to see a Swift flying past at my eye level on the second floor. I’ve never seen a Swift in November in Britain before. But more to the point there are barely any Common Swifts in the influx, this bird was almost certainly a Pallid.

I took some video. A Swift, in near darkness – what could possibly go wrong. Anyway here is a still as it passed the back of St John’s Church.

I guess it may have roosted on St John’s Church given the miserable weather this evening and the fact it was circling the clocktower when last seen. If it went straight through though then the rarest bird I’ve seen in the Fylde has slipped through my fingers as very good photographs would be needed for an accepted record. In one sense I’m frustrated, but in another I’m delighted to have seen part of this unprecedented migration whilst sat at my desk in deepest Blackpool.

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