Sunday, 27 October 2013

'Reports of my death...

...have been greatly exaggerated'. The Christchurch Pallid Swift no doubt repeated Mark Twain's witticism at about 1100 on Friday when it was said to have been taken by a crow, only to rise again a few minutes later. If so, it spoke too soon, apparently falling to a Sparrowhawk a couple of hours later. I referred to the phenomenon of rare birds snuffing it in my last post, perhaps in the sub-conscious hope that pointing it out would prevent it happening it again any time soon. A winning formula, obviously.

I couldn't get over to Christchurch before lunchtime, and on arrival I met Brett who was just leaving, having filled a memory card with some great shots of the bird. He broke the news that while he couldn't be sure, it seemed likely that the Swift had been taken by a Sprawk. I'm ashamed to say I cursed that peckish raptor in similar terms to those which Brett normally reserves for the hunters of Brent Geese.

After Snipegate, I couldn't quite believe it had happened again and, sensing my disbelief, Brett encouraged me to keep looking as it was just possible the Swift had made an escape. The last sighting was about 1300, and my car park ticket said 1308, so it was a fine margin which prevented me adding this species to my Dorset list.

I hung around for another couple of hours, just in case there was a second resurrection - there wasn't - before heading off to Mudeford Quay where a Roseate Tern had been reported. Can you guess whether this (a) ended in disaster as a the tern was snaffled by a Bonxie just minutes before my arrival or (b) comprehensively rescued the afternoon as it fished just yards offshore in the evening light? That's right. The correct answer is (b).

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