Pallid Swift – records

Apus pallidusCoblyn Gwelw / Gwennol Welw-dduVagrant

1984 – see Pallid Swift 1994

2001 – Porthgain, 5th-7th October, video. (B.D.Gibbs et al.)

2018 – Skokholm 4th November – 1st island record.

One feeding low along the north coast between 1015hrs and 1530hrs on an overcast 4th November was a first for Skokholm (GE, RDB); although favouring the cliffs above Little Bay, it regularly headed inland towards North Pond and once powered out over Broad Sound only to later return.

This third for Pembrokeshire was approximately the seventh to be reported during what proved to be an exceptional influx into Britain; a minimum of 30 and probably closer to 50 birds were logged between 13th October and 18th November 2018, although the Skokholm bird was one of only two found in Wales. The weather on 3rd November was dominated by near gale southerly winds, with force nine gusts and heavy, sometimes very heavy rain; this was brought about by the passage of exHurricane Oscar. The surface pressure chart for noon on the 3rd revealed a deep low to the west of Ireland, with southerly winds extending from Iberia and beyond. The winds on the 4th were calmer and showers, sometimes heavy, were regular throughout the day.

November systems such as this have been linked to Pallid Swift influxes in the past, with the southerly winds encouraging recently fledged birds to travel north; that second brood Pallids are present in areas from which the vast majority of Common Swifts have already travelled south leads to the appearance of more Pallids, although of course juvenile Common Swifts, including A. a. pekinensis heading for South Africa via the Red Sea, could be caught up in such a system.

Richard Brown and Giselle Eagle: Skokholm Annual Report 2018.

More about the Pallid Swift in Pembrokeshire