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bird NOTES.

Byline: ROBIN SANDHAM

THE big news last week was all about a Little Swift found by a visiting birder as it fed alongside Common Swifts over the prom at New Brighton, Cheshire.

With only 23 previous records for the UK, it kindly stayed for at least the whole weekend, so it became a very popular record indeed.

What a super species too, usually found in North African countries but with also a few smaller colonies in southern Spain.

I have only seen them previously in Marrakesh flying around the taller buildings outside of the central city or Medina area.

Swifts are notoriously difficult to "twitch" (or rather travel to see) in the UK as their airborne lifestyle means that they don't usually hang around for too long.

As their name suggests they are much smaller than our Common Swifts, which are currently roving over our rooftops in screaming flocks.

Little swifts are shorter and stockier, with a white band across the rump and shorter broad wings.

My weekend also took me over to Cambridge which was an ideal chance to again visit the north Norfolk coast.

This wonderful stretch of coastline is a magnet for birds all year round. I'd timed it very nicely, as a Pacific Golden Plover had turned up at Cley Marshes the day before we arrived, and it was a relief to see it still there.

Further west at Titchwell RSPB there were several Spotted Redshank - still sporting their jet-black summer plumage - and a number of Little Gulls, which are always a joy to see. Finally, a Bittern was seen in flight over the marsh.

The Little Swift seen on the Wirral Pic: PHIL WOOLLEN GO BIRDING SAT-SUN, JUNE 30-1: RSPB Conwy wildlife walk (Sat) and "Marvellous Minibeasts" (Sun). Details: 01492 584091 or conwy@rspb.org.uk SUN, JULY 1: Guided walk at Cemlyn NWWT reserve, 2pm (also Mon, July 2, at 7pm). Walks are free, start from the west car park. PUFFIN ISLAND: Boat cruises run on July 1, 15, 22 and August 11.

There are four sailings a day, each 1.5 hours, with commentary from RSPB staff onboard. Booking: 02920 353010.

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The Little Swift seen on the Wirral Pic: PHIL WOOLLEN
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 28, 2012
Words:370
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