Environmentalists believe the bird had gone astray. The little swift is a migratory bird that usually spends the winter in southern Africa returning north to breed in the warmer areas of southern Europe. In northern Europe it is particularly rare.
It was a young bird spotter Stijn Baeten, who identified the little swift flying over Blankenberge on Monday. Dominique Verbelen of the environmental organisation Natuurpunt believes the sighting is sensational: “This is like a camel at the North Pole or a polar bear in the Sahara. It’s hard to explain my feelings. It’s like when a deeply religious person meets the pope. This is more or less how bird lovers experience a sighting of the little swift in Belgium”.
On Tuesday a flock of bird spotters descended on the same location in a bid to see the little swift with their own eyes, but all fifty were disappointed. The bird is thought to have moved on.
Though not a singing bird, the little swift is related to the Colibri bird of Latin America. It’s a fast flier that emits an icy scream.