Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Hope's Nose**

A howling SE gale made Hope's Nose seem like a good idea: 1 Black-throated Diver, 6 Great Norther Divers, 6 Red-throated Divers, 1 Bonxie, 167 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Wigeon, 4 Great Crested Grebes.

I had just finished a telephone conversation with Mark Darlaston (at Berry Head) who reeled off a list of Skuas and Little Gulls that me and Robin Shute had not seen at the Nose and told him 'I won't come back to Hope's Nose again' turned around and told Robin I was off and then noticed a Swift (without looking through my bins) in the sky above the bay behind us - blurted to Robin 'Swift' then thought how silly that would be and thought it must be a high flying dunlin. But as I raised my bins sure enough it was a small swift with greyish under secondaries. I tried to get Robin on it just as the bird dived below the wooded background showing immediately umber brown secondaries and dark saddle and primaries and fore wing - PALLID SWIFT!!! I did not get every last detail - which would have been great, but against the dark background the exact wing tip shape was impossible to work out and it kept its tail closed all the time and at 100m or less it was still impossible to pick out any body barring - but if it had stayed high in the sky I would not have got the colour shades and white throat or obvious dark eye patches.

Field notes made on site, with watercolour added immediately on my return home.