Saturday, 3 April 2010

Kessingland Pallid Swift

I was really hoping to be featuring a certain small Falco in my blog title today… but it sounds like the Lesser Kestrel hasn’t definitely been seen since Wednesday (or it’s changed it’s feeding area, and become even more difficult to see). I certainly couldn’t find it in several hours searching, so I’ll have to make do with an Apus instead.

However, since there are rather a lot of photos of the swift, let’s start with a single shot of something easier to identify. This superb male Dartford Warbler popped up right next to me while I was photographing a confiding Stonechat (NB: from the path!), and sang for a moment or two before realising I was there!


So, the swift. Some people may consider it “a boring paleish” bird, that looks “exactly like a normal Swift”… but hopefully these shots will illustrate otherwise. Actually, well, you might still think it’s boring (and indeed unless you’re a birder, I bet you do), but at least it isn’t exactly like a normal Swift - look!


Many field guides make much of Pallid Swift’s typically blunter wing profile, with the outer two primary tips almost equal in length – but despite looking for this feature, it didn’t strike me as particularly noticeable on this individual. (Indeed several people commented that picking it out from Common Swifts in poor light would be very tricky.) However, everything else was as expected plumage-wise: marked underpart scaling, large white throat, contrastingly paler inner primaries, and a dark mask around the eye. In addition, the mode of flight seemed slightly different – perhaps a little looser winged when flapping, with some long glides. Anyway, here’s the pics – you can make your own mind up!

 pallidswift2 pallidswift3pallidswift1 pallidswift4 pallidswift5

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