Little Swift - Apus affinis

On 18 May Rob Sponselee was birding at the Zeedijk near Westkapelle Zld when at 9:18 hours he noticed a small swift feeding along the zeedijk and above the Noordervroon (where on 15 August 2020 the Oriental Plover was found). He immediately identified the bird as a Little Swift Apus affinis and warned other birders. The bird stayed in the general area till about 12:15 hours flying a circuit and appeared every 10-20 minutes above the heads of the slowly growing crowd of birders. When Nick van der Ham and I arrived at 12:25 hours the bird was just gone. We waited half an hour, but no swifts were coming back, although a group was feeding above the Noordervroon, but just too far to see important details. I decided to get closer and walked c 300 meters along the K. de Vosweg. At 12:55 I found a swift with a white rump flying slowly in southwestern direction. Knowing House Martin Delichon urbica could be a pitfall under these circumstances, I kept on looking at the bird and saw other details, like swift-like wings, squarish tail and dark underside, clinching the ID as the Little Swift. Nick was just behind me and could pick up the bird before it disappeared in the direction of Westkapelle. Other birders were just too late, but a good number continued looking for the bird. At 18:40 hours it was relocated by Pim Wolf and Ferry Ossendorp at Hotel Woestduyn, c 600 meters southwest of the original location. Till 21:45 hours the bird was visible, most of the times above the Noordervroon and along K. de Vosweg (the place where Nick and I saw the bird).

18 May 2021, Noordervroon, Westkapelle Zld; © Jacob Molenaar. Note the blackish body and obvous white rump plus square tail

18 May 2021, Noordervroon, Westkapelle Zld; © Jacob Molenaar. Note the thick body with large head and relatively short wings and tail.

18 May 2021, Noordervroon, Westkapelle Zld; © Jacob Molenaar. Note the white throat patch.

18 May 2021, Noordervroon, Westkapelle Zld; © Lenn van de Zande.

It was accepted as the fourth record for the Netherlands. The first record was on 17 May 2001 at Oosterend, Terschelling Fr, the second was on 20 November 2006 at IJmuiden NH and the third was on 27 October 2020 on camping Stortemelk, Vlieland Fr (which flew behind my back as I was at the same spot and the same moment).

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