Thursday 16 August 2012

Last Swifts

I might as well face it - I've probably seen my last swift of the year. Or swifts, to be precise - a pair of them circling lazily over Hackbridge on Monday evening. Since then, nothing...
At least the Great Disappearance of the last weekend in July proved a false alarm. The swifts were back in the early days of August, and twice last week I saw a dozen and more, but by last weekend they had dwindled to zero again, and if the pair I saw on Monday were indeed my last for this summer, they have gone a good fortnight earlier than last year. And who can blame them heading for the warm South after a dismal summer like this one?
Still, I'd be interested to hear if anyone else still has swifts. Let's postpone the evil day when these mysterious and beautiful birds are gone...
There's a fine piece about them by Mark Cocker here.


  1. Alas, the miracle of swifts is fading. In the past decade they've declined in Britain by 40%.
    Sadly correct and unfortunately, also the sand martins. These busy creatures have all but disappeared from the delightfull Bowmont valley, hard up against the Scottish side of the Pennine ridge, darting and chattering along the sandy bluff above the river at Mow Law hill, probably for the first time since the Roman legions tramped the area, guarding the signal stations, communication between the Antonine Wall and York.
    Not all bad news on the nature front, after a recent tropical downpour our burn became a raging torrent. As I went down to survey the spectacle an otter floated past, throughly enjoying the experience, only the second sighting in 12 years.

  2. got a few swifts left around me but most of them went two weekends ago. I am in the lucky position of living in a street of poorly built 1930's semis that provide ample holes and broken guttering for both swifts, swallows and sparrows, so our local neighbourhood has a surfeit of all. And I get awoken at 5.30am every day by the bloody sparrows bickering on my windowsill! I still love the little buggers though