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Roze Spreeuw

Even geduld...

Dutch Birding volume 26 (2004) no 2


Alpine Swift at Wageningen in November-December 2002

On 8 November 2002, an Alpine Swift Apus melba was discovered at inland Wageningen, Gelderland, the Netherlands, and stayed until 4 December 2002, when it was taken into care because of its poor condition. On 10 November, it was also seen near Elst, Utrecht, c 10 km west of Wageningen. During its stay, the Alpine Swift was feeding around the Wageningen hillside or riverbeds and in the evening the bird was roosting in the window opening of a high factory building in the Wageningen harbour.

After having been taken into care, the Alpine Swift was fed dead crickets by hand at first. Later on, it was fed live crickets and a mixture of minerals, proteins and vitamins. The bird recovered from a parasitic infection and its weight increased from 65 g on 4 December to 85-90 g when released (the normal weight for an Alpine Swift is 76-120 g). On 22 June 2003, the bird was ringed and released in Baden near Zürich, Switzerland, after having had a tail-feather transplantation and some flight training. It was not seen after this date.

This was the 40th record (and 41st individual) of Alpine Swift for the Netherlands. It was only the second-ever staying longer than just a few hours. The first 'long-stayer' was on 28-29 October 1987 at Zaanstad, Noord-Holland. It was also the first record in November and December. Records in November in north-western Europe are rare and December records seem to be without precedent.

Robert Keizer, Thorbeckestraat 80, 6702 BS Wageningen, Nederland
Hans Westendorp, Alexanderweg 1, 6721 GG Bennekom, Nederland