Monday 29 June 2015

The Swifts are Gathering

I've been mentioning a lot on social media how the swift count here seems to be rather down on previous years; whereas before you'd get groups of 6-8 swifts or even more screeching in circles around their usual nest sites, this year there's never really been any more than 4. I know they've been investigating their nesting holes on the old church hall and the Chinese takeaway, but whether they've actually "laid, hatched and raised" any young, I have no idea.

Tonight however, on my evening slow crawl of a run - still nowhere near pain free, alas - I noticed that there were many more swifts engaged in joyous flight all over their town colonies - there must have been 20 plus on Balderton Gate alone between the hall and takeout joint!

Does this mean fledglings are now among the adults as they hurtle round the sky? I wouldn't know, other than to say that none of the birds have had a juvenile look about them.

I think its more likely that the godforsaken Norwesterlies that have plagued the UK with freezing breezes for most of June have now gone south, and with the warmer air, we've got swifts now able to move up from continental Europe without having to pack two overcoats and an electric blanket.

Perhaps they will stay later into late August or even September!

Also very glad to spot a sand martin nest on the artificial bank of what I always call "Newark Island". Lovely little birds.

Enjoy Newark sunset rather than sunrise.


All images and text copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.06.15

Sand martins nesting behind the clump of grass in the middle

Fishermen have a camper van tonight

How different it looks in the evening

Likewise the lock

View from the bridge

The Barge, a floating pub

Hello metal ghost signs!


  1. At my parents home where Swifts nest annually (on the Surrey/Sussex/Hampshire borders) they have also reported a similar lack of Swift activity until very recently. Definitely due to cooler temperatures and therefore lack of insect food.

    The Sand Martin nest was a nice find Simon.

    BTW if you want to overcome the issue with your images extending into the side column then I suggest increasing the overall width of your blog. If you need assistance then let me know.

  2. Thank you very much! I put in a bit of CSS script to keep the pictures aligned, but sometimes they bleed over.

    Thanks for dropping by, and confirming my swifty suspicions

  3. Nice photos Simon, it looks very picturesque.

  4. I to have seen more swifts over the last few days due to the warm weather, looks a nice place were you went for your slow run and great photos.
    Amanda xx

  5. We rarely see swifts up here in North Yorkshire, although the farmer hears them in the fields. We once found a baby on the grass - its feet were amazing, no way could it have stood on them. I picked it up and held it in the palm of my hand and it sped away.

  6. What a charming tale. Lots of them about tonight, whizzing just over my head!

  7. I think it's still slightly too soon for them to be fledging, another week or so yet as far as I know.

    I also know they'll travel hundreds of miles to where the food and weather are good.....