Monday, 9 November 2015

Crag Martin - Chesterfield

Slightly outside my normal reporting area but worth it for Derbyshire's first and Britain's tenth Crag Martin.
First reported at mid-day yesterday, and found by Roy Frost who was doing some survey work on urban Peregrines, I arrived a little late, around 14:00 to hear it had been last seen around 13:50. Along with 70-80 others I waited until dusk but there was no further sign.
I didn't hold out much hope of it reappearing but thanks to the Norfolk birder who came up early morning on the off chance, it was reported again around 8:15 and it was on show when I arrived 20 minutes later and remained so until 10:00 when I left as it had started to rain.
Crag Martin
It spent most of the time whipping around around the tower just below the clock occasionally going further afield over the town but returning within a few minutes. I can only assume it was catching insects from the walls or perhaps coming out of the vented openings in the tower.
Crag Martin
It was extremely active making it very difficult to photograph but I eventually managed enough to show the main features. I didn't get much on the upper side but it looked to have pale tips to the coverts and scapulars so is presumably a first winter.
I can only speculate that it may have arrived in Britain with a small influx of Pallid Swifts which was noted from 31st October onwards and could therefore have been in the Country for a few days. Two of the earlier records were in October but this is the first for November. The Crag Martin has been extending it range northwards from the southern Europe but most winter either around the Mediterranean or in Africa.
Excellent write up on ageing here.
An amazing sight to see it around the twisted spire in Chesterfield and my first rarity there since the Black-throated Thrush in 1998.


  1. Wow, what a find Andy. Your picture is all over Twitter at the moment, re-tweeted by Rare Bird Alert. What a little beauty !!,

  2. An incredible record and all credit to Roy who found it.


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