Sunday, 11 May 2014

Red-rumped Swallow in Thamesmead

Thank goodness for a fish and Sunday opening hours, that's all I'll say.

John A gave me a lovely trout that he'd caught (that'll I'll be eating shortly), but with no dill or fresh lemon to cook it with, I had half an hour to kill between finishing off our unproductive river walk (just a Dunlin and 6 Ringed Plovers) and the nearby Morrison's to open. So with inclement weather and knowing the only place where swifts and hirundines gather on the patch would be Southmere, I headed there. It's a proper grim place at the best of times, nestled between tower blocks and roundabouts where gypsies graze their horses. But on a grey day like today, it was at its aesthetic worst - that is, until I realised there were loads of hirundines and swifts patrolling over it...

Five minutes of scanning, thoroughly enjoying the numbers of birds - including Swallows and Sand Martins that don't breed in the area - while either hopefully or intuitively (??) waiting for something better what with the numbers of birds about. And then after about ten minutes, a bloody Red-rumped Swallow flew through my bins view... and then that adrenalin pumping feeling took hold. John A got called within a few seconds, and then having only really seen the bird for 20 or 30 seconds, all the usual calls/texts were made. But not being a great multi-tasker in this instance, I'd lost the bird...
Red-rumped Swallow Southmere Lake, Thamesmead 11th May 2014
However, as the 15 minutes it'd taken John A to return approached, I picked it up again and the rest is history. A fair few people came to see it, and it was good to see the likes of James L, Barry W, John T, Keith H and Mick S on the patch again. From finding it at 9.50am, the bird was aparrently last seen at 12.50pm.

Red-rumped Swallow Southmere Lake, Thamesmead 11th May 2014. Note the slight streaking confined to the upper breast, indicating the European subspecies rufula. 
It'd only been this morning that John A and I were discussing how regularly the Crossness area drew in crowds. It'll probably be a while til it happens again.


  1. Another good find Rich in the urban jungle!

  2. Thanks Shaun. Sorry you missed it mate and well done with the Hoopoe the other week.

  3. Well done rich! Another quality thamesmead bird.

  4. Great find! I'm currently in the local patch birding doldrums so this gives me hope!

  5. Bloody Brilliant, Well done mate.

  6. Thanks everyone. It's like everything I guess. You put the time in, and eventually it pays off. Seems that my luck favours April or May recently!