Sunday, 24 June 2012

Saturday 23rd June 2012 - A swift visit to the Wirral pays off!

News broke on Friday that a LITTLE SWIFT had been found at New Brighton. I thought nothing more about it - it was Friday afternoon, not a great travelling day, and I'd got someone coming round for tea. It was when my guest came (fellow Clayhead Pops!), and when we started talking about the bird, that I suddenly realised Pops wasn't with me in 2001 when I saw the Notts bird!

I'd already got a busy day's birding planned on Saturday. It was WeBs weekend and I'd offered to help Sir Roger out at Blithfield, and I also had my own counts to do at Westport and at several gravel pits. We decided to meet up at Westport in two cars, and if the LITTLE SWIFT came on, Pops could pop up to the Wirral, and I could count Coot.

All the plans changed when the LITTLE SWIFT very obligingly decided to roost on the Pier House on New Brighton sea front. I knew if we could get there early enough, we could see the bird before it flew off. I arranged for Pops to pick me up at 04-30hrs. As I waited for him, news was put on the forum that the LITTLE SWIFT was still roosting. I texted him to hurry up, and we raced up to the Wirral, arriving just after 05-30hrs. There was already 30+ birders in place, and for twenty minutes we watched the Little Swift sit awkwardly on a window hinge. It did move occasionally, but it appeared to be panting heavily, and it didn't really look in good shape.

The Pier House - Little Swift on second floor above the Pier House name

Sitting comfortably?

Watching the Little Swift over the river - A few North Staffs birders in the crowd

At 05-50hrs, it flopped onto the window ledge and flew off. It wasn't flying that well at first, fluttering a little, but eventually it warmed up and went to feed over the Mersey, as well as coming back towards us. At 06-20hrs, job done and we headed back to Staffs. We even managed to visit Westport.

The duck count at Blithers was fairly straight forward and quiet, and the counting went well for the rest of the day. Thank goodness the WeBs count is only done monthly!

Original artwork by PJ