Pallid Swift in Suffolk

Saturday 3rd April 2010

I went with Jake, Mike and John to Suffolk on Saturday on a twitch for a couple of rarities, and had a very good day, despite the increasing showers. Arriving at Kessingland, two Barn Owls hunting at first light around the fishing lake, and three White Wagtails, a Pied Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail and a pair of Muntjac deer provided early interest. At 8:10am however the star bird, a PALLID SWIFT (top photo), finally showed and continued to give us great views for some time. This allowed us to see the salient features, including the 'scaly' underside which can be seen in the photo.

Below: Barn Owl

Below: White Wagtail

We then headed to Westleton Heath, in the hope of seeing the Lesser Kestrel, but with only one report the previous day, that seemed very unlikely; there was indeed no sign of it, just a common Kestrel. It was great, however, experiencing the typical birds of this Suffolk heathland habitat, including a pair of Dartford Warblers, a singing Woodlark, and at nearby Dunwich Forest, a pair of Stone Curlews. A Red Deer on the heath itself appeared to be wild, while another 50 on a private area to the south seemed more captive. Other birds here included a Willow Warbler, 6+ Skylarks and five Green Woodpeckers.

Below: Stone Curlews (record shot!)

On the way home, two Ring-necked Parakeets flying near the M4 at Windsor, a Red Kite near Reading, a Roe Deer further along the M4 and a total of three more Muntacs gave some interest to the journey. Nice drive Jake - thanks again.


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