Sunday, 30 October 2011

30 October 2011

A wander along the dunes behind the village this morning produced an unusually late Swift which, as I observed it, came low over the houses and appeared magically to transform from a typically plumaged individual into a lovely sandy colour.  As I watched it it did this trick several times, until I was totally confused.  I didn't have my phone on me so I ran back to Pete's house and he came back with me, in his slippers, and I took my camera to try to get some shots.  We relocated it and had a good look.  Half the time it looked like a bog-standard Swift and half the time looked much more suggestive, but out of context, and having not seen any Swifts for over a month, I was beginning to doubt my own vision.  After about ten minutes we were still not sure what we were watching and so we phoned Tim, who arrived on top of the Hermanus and decided to put out the news as a possible Pallid Swift, in the hope that that we could con some proper birders into a visit so they could identify it for us.  The bigwigs duly arrived and, typically, some were in the Pallid camp and some in the Common.  As it stands at present we don't know, and people are making convincing arguments either way.  Here are my pictures (µ43 rules!) which have only been cropped, not altered in any other way.  You can click on them to see the larger versions.  What do YOU think?

PS Just been out for another look and found out that Dick Filby took a decent shot of the underparts which he is going home to study.  So we might have a conclusive identification soon...

Update - here are Dick Filby's photos.  Still not conclusive - but he's leaning more towards Common Swift.


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