18th May 2016

08:05am Possible Red-rumped Swallow. I was walking from the Coastguard lookout to the ROC lookout with the low orange sun behind me. I was looking for House & Sand Martins to add to my Berry Head list. I identified a House Martin by eye and then by 8x42 Opticron binoculars. The next bird had a lighter head, my first thought was Sand Martin, but through binoculars I saw a white rump and long tail streamers. I followed the bird for around 5 sec with binoculars before trying (unsuccessfully) to take a photograph. My lasting impression is of the white rump and the remaining tail being around twice the length of the rump. If there was any red in the rump it was at the body end of the rump.

I spent a few minutes trying to recover the bird with no success. In this time, I saw a few (Barn) Swallows that seemed to be similar tail length to this possible Red-rumped Swallow.

If confirmed, this would be my first sighting of a Red-rumped Swallow. After checking the Collins Bird Guide, I would have paid more attention to the head and tried to distinguish any colour in the rump. Juvenile birds of this species have white rumps, but they would be seen in Autumn not Spring.


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