The first report of a Pallid Swift in our part of Norfolk came a few days ago when a bird was seen at Cley and various points along the coast to Cromer. Then, on Thursday when I was tied up at an all day conference in Cambridge, Tim a local birder texted to say that he and Dawn had found possibly the same bird at Felbrigg Hall – practically our ‘back garden’! Yesterday we got up early to get to Felbrigg, where we spent a couple of fruitless hours looking for the bird. In the afternoon I had to go to Norwich and by the time I’d finished my various meetings it was beginning to get too late for birding…or so we thought! We decided against a shopping trip to Morrison’s and went straight home. Shortly after dark the message came through that the Pallid had been showing well, ‘late afternoon’ between the supermarket and the pier, and had possibly gone to roost on Cromer church – grrnash! Up early this morning to go and stare at Cromer church tower for an hour or so… nothing. Back for breakfast and a report that there were now two birds over the cliffs at Trimmingham. Off we go, only to be told when we get there that the birds had flown off a couple of minutes before… double bother! A pager message came through that a bird was showing above the wood we could see in the distance… but we couldn’t see the bird. Then another message to say it was seen heading east towards Cromer. Off we go to Cromer sea-front, see nothing but bump into three lads who are pleased to show us their photos of Pallid Swift taken a little earlier at the lighthouse – triple bother! Back for lunch and await further news. None is forthcoming so we go back to Felbrigg. No luck there either but a further text to say that a Pallid Swift is back, somewhere between Trimmingham and Sidestrand. Off we go again, arrive at a likely spot, hoof it to the coast, where a lone birder points to a dot in the sky… that’s the bird! We hoof it back to the car and drive to the village where, thankfully and not before time, the Pallid Swift performs dutifully above us for ten minutes or more.
And the moral of this tale… twitching swifts can seriously damage your (mental) health!
A few rather poor images of a very welcome addition to the year list!
Turns out that there were indeed two birds, a ‘pale’ bird, which came from Cromer and the west and a darker bird from the east. They both met up briefly over the coast at Trimmingham, mid morning!