Monday, July 2, 2012

A brief weather window meant that we could get off Bardsey for a 'summer' holiday. The interesting Green(ish) Warbler continues to cause debate, so we intend to continue our research whilst we're off. But today we were constantly distracted by news of the Alpine Swift which was continuing to show well at Buckton Cliffs to the North of Bempton. The forecast was bad, it was already two in the afternoon, but we fancied a drive so headed out for the two hour trip. The forecast was right. We made the mile plus walk to the trig point in something between drizzle and rain. But the bird was still there, feeding low along the cliff edge. It frequently passed just a few feet over head, but it wasn't the best conditions for photography. However it was well worth the drive to spend an hour in the company of this monster Swift which has a wing span of over half a meter.

This cracker has lingered since the 29th of June, the most predictable of the 21 birds to have been reported in the UK so far this year. Alpine Swifts pair for life and return to the same nest site each year, so perhaps this bird isn't an established breeder. But they can also range long distances when looking for food. Whilst the adults are away hunting, the chicks can lower their body temperature to reach a torpid state, thus surviving unattended for long periods. (c) Richard Brown


  1. Since I won't be able to get there to see it myself, I do appreciate the photos!

  2. Our pleasure. Sadly it hasn't been seen since the fourth.