Little Swift | Apus affinis

On Tuesday morning around 9.30 a report comes in of a real Little Swift flying above the Vroon near Westkapelle. A few days ago there was also a Little Swift near Antwerp that stayed around for 2 days. With this in mind, there was no doubt and the ride to Westkapelle started immediately.

Little Swift | Apus affinis
Little Swift | Apus affinis

A nervous ride of 2 hours followed, but luckily there was regular confirmation that the bird was still being seen. Upon arrival it was clear that the Little Swift was seen and we joined the group. The bird flew at a distance and on the directions I was able to quickly get it in the picture. I could not clearly see details yet, but the bird was moving in our direction. I checked my camera's settings and adjusted the exposure. Almost immediately afterwards the Little Swift flew almost above us. My camera started to rattle and the Little Swift flew over the dike in the direction of Westkapelle. Getting the bird into focus was not easy due to the speed and the rapid tilting in flight. Still, I could see through the viewfinder that there was an occasional focus and I was confident that there were some sharp plates. The Little Swift was close to view for about 30 seconds and, as said, disappeared towards Westkapelle. I actually expected to get a second chance, but the bird did not return.

Little Swift | Apus affinis
Little Swift | Apus affinis

The Little Swift was previously only observed 3 times in the Netherlands. The first time was in 2001 on the island of Terschelling. The second sighting in 2006 near Velsen and last year one on the island of Vlieland. All these observations were made by a very limited number of observers. The Westkapelle Little Swift was therefore new to the Dutch list for almost everyone. If accepted, this will be number 462 for my Dutch list. Maartje increases her Dutch list to 455 species.