Yesterday we visited the delightful Seaforth Docks Liverpool to try and see the Pallid Swift that had been present for over a week. Colin had hoped that we would be able to go on the Bank Holiday Monday, but I did not fancy a trip up the M6 and the traffic that would be encountered (instead I spent the morning at the Lea Valley Park with the singing Savi's Warbler). Luckily the Swift lingered into this weekend.
We arrived at 0930 to find a small crowd scanning the huge flock of swifts over the lake, but with no real chance of finding the Pallid among them. Suddenly it appeared over our heads and flew overt the Seaforth reserve where it performed, as they say, very well. Having studied the literature, which mainly concentrates on the more frequent and harder to identify autumn juveniles, it was surprisingly easy to locate, even at a distance. The flight action was a little different different to Common Swift, with a slower wing beat, and the browner plumage showed very well against the blue sky and blue dock buildings. After a good twenty minutes, it flew off, and so did the assembled crowd.
Our next stop was a sheep field at Blackmoorfoot, high in the Pennines west of Huddersfield. The attraction was a small trip of Dotterel, including two females in full breeding plumage. Despite the wind and the threatening cloud, they did not disappoint, and neither did the Golden Plover and many Wheatear also present.
We spent the remainder of the day in the Pennines, gradually driving over the moors to the upper reaches of the river Derwent. Unfortunately the cold wind kept most of the wildlife down, and apart from Red Grouse and a few Buzzard we did not really see anything. The hoped for Ring Ousels at Cutthroat Bridge, and the Dippers at Grindleford were conspicuous by their absence.
Earlier this morning, while filling the feeders, I noticed my first immature Azure Damselflies in the irises around my pond.