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Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Hit and Miss

On Monday 3rd May, a text from Rob W and reports that the Red- Rumped Swallow was still at Loompit (near Levington Marina by Trimley St. Martin) persuaded me to twitch this bird potentially a new Suffolk bird for me.
Having filled the car with its full complement of Passengers- the aforementioned Rob, James W and Andrew E- Ace spotters, we drove down to the site turning off the Felixstowe road to Trimley St Martin and taking first y rd on the left (before the garden nursery) and then x Lane to the site where we parked in a small car park just right of the road and before a farm. We then walked the 800 yards straight down to the lake just in from the estuary, walking along the path bordering the Loompit Lake on the right and the estuary on the left. The rather dejected birders we met here said it hadn't been seen for an hour but they hadn't banked on the ace birders in our party. Abruptly AE & JW exclaimed they had the Red- rump and after commiserating with their condition (sorry lads, couldn't resist it!) I spotted the excellent Red- rumped Swallow flying very close and away from us past the island just in front of us. It show a pinkish rump and very black forked tail and as it flew around again clockwise I noted the dark cap and pinky- buff underparts and black tail and undertail coverts. It flew around a further two times, giving excellent but brief views before the onset of a sudden vicious hailstorm and we had to seek shelter under the nearest trees. After 5 minutes we went back to our original position but the bird and the House Martins with it, around 10 House Martins and 15 Sand Martins had disappeared. After 20 minutes AE picked it up flying around a wooden fishing jetty were it was spotted several times flying around here in the company of Sand Martins and House Martins. 
It subsequently disappeared again and we had to settle looking at a Swallow and a pair of confiding Pochard. 
Other people met here were a rather dejected looking Dave H & Malcolm W who'd sadly just missed it by a few minutes and it was good to see regular Lowestoft Birding correspondent Paul W who had seen the bird, fortunately.
We then drove over to Minsmere walking along the North wall, we couldn't see any sign of the Montagu's Harrier, but we had better luck with the Temminck's Stint feeding unobtrusively along the island edge in front of post 6, at one point a Common Sandpiper was chasing it. Elsewhere up to 4 Black- tailed Godwits were seen. From North Hide we were unlucky to miss the Montagu's Harrier by just 1 minute it was still sitting on the North Scrape ridge but out of view. A fishing Heron right in front of the hide gave close views as did a pair of Gadwell feeding around the Mares tail, whilst a flock of 17 Black- tailed Godwit were seen along the north- west section of the scrape. Several Sandwich and Common terns were seen flying around too as well as Avocets and 1 fine summer plumaged Dunlin on the East Scrape. After 2 hours we left the hide learning later that the elusive Monty's flew 40 minutes later, it was disappointing to miss this bird.


Paul Woolnough said...

Thanks, as you say, I saw the red-rumped swallow: was on site for three and a half hours. Thought it would be easy!

My sighting was from east end of the wood. (Ignoring a doubtful flyby along shore line to your viewpoint shortly before your sighting.) Bird suddenly appeared over east end of wood at 145pm Monday 3rd: just after a flock of 30 swallows had done the same thing. Up till then mostly house martins and sand martins over Loompit Lake.

Had two views of the red-rumped as it flew past bushes along the lake shore before bird turned back and over the wood. Did not show over the main part of the lake at all. No wonder many missed it.

Peter Ransome said...

Great bird! Glad you were one of the lucky few to see it, a Suffolk tick for me, don't get many of these nowadays.