Thursday 23 March 2023

Thursday 23rd March

 The great discovery of an ALPINE SWIFT feeding over Holbeck by Micky "The Swift" McNaghten at 0852hrs was sufficient motivation to galvanise local birders into action. The bird continued to show well from the top of Oliver's Mount as it fed over the town and out towards the Castle Headland, affording excellent views at times as it did so. This bird was undoubtedly part of an unprecedented influx of the species which initially became evident in Southern Ireland with birds arriving there from 13th March with a flock of 7 over Dungarvan, Co. Cork and a 9 subsequently over Bray, Co. Wicklow on 19th.  A funnel of weather created by a mild south westerly wind from Iberia had driven many birds northwards and some 60 or so were recorded in Southern Ireland from 16th March, when others were beginning to arrive in the UK, notably in the south west but with others reaching as far north as Northumberland and East Yorkshire. An impressive flock of 6 was noted at Stanpit Marsh, Dorset on 18th March. With one having been discovered at Flamborough recently and one seen at Bempton yesterday, it was only a question of time and probability that one would be discovered locally. Astonishingly, a second ALPINE SWIFT was found by John Harwood and Steve Race at 1525hrs at Oliver's Mount. It joined with the the first bird and both were seen together over the football changing rooms  there and continuing to show until early evening when they were seen flying low over the town.  Also seen from that location today were a Red Kite and a Woodcock. Elsewhere, two Little Egrets were below Brompton and a male and female Goldeneye were at Seamer Road Mere. Three Lesser Redpolls and a Lesser Black-backed Gull were at Burton Riggs. The first Little Ringed Plover of spring was on the spit at the Water Sports Lake at the North Yorkshire Water Park before being flushed by a dog walker and flying off high west. A Russian White-fronted Goose and a redhead Goosander were also on the lake. A Hawfinch was again seen at 1100hrs at Hilla Green and six Chiffchaffs were at Burton Riggs.

Alpine Swift at Oliver's Mount by Nick Addey

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