An exceptional number of Alpine Swifts observed in Flanders | animals

This spring, seven Alpine Swifts have already been spotted in Flanders. This is a remarkably high number for a species that is normally rarely seen in our region. The number of observations in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands is higher than normal, Natuurpunt reported on Friday.

The Alpine Swift (Tachymorphtis melpa) is related to our street-breeding Common Swift, but is larger and browner and has a striking white belly and throat patch. Usually a specimen is observed here every few years, but exceptionally only more than one per year. In 2023, the counter is already at seven.

On March 19, a first specimen was seen above Hoek in West Flanders. A second sighting immediately followed on March 20 at Nagy and a day later at Rouen. On March 31, one was observed for a long time at Doorhout, and on April 10 three sudden sightings followed: Oostduinkerke, Heist, and Gentbrugge.

By comparison, as of 2021, the Belgian Rare Birds Group (BRBC) has accepted only 45 sightings for Belgium since 1886. Peaks in 2009, three noted, and 9 cases reported in 1993. Many historical scenes in our country took place only after mid-April. According to Natuurpunt, the record is likely to be improved this year.


Also in Great Britain, exceptional Alpine Swifts were seen. More than 200 specimens have been reported across the channel since March 7. Seven people have already been found in the Netherlands.
According to Natuurpunt, it is surprising that the Alpine Swift does not visit Belgium more often. The closest breeding site is in Strasbourg, France, less than 200 kilometers from the Belgian border.

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