A Swift exit?

By Wunderwanderer (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Wunderwanderer (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Last year, the last evening with Swifts above my house was 8 August. This year, my last record so far, was the morning of 9 August before heading off to the Peak District.

Are they really gone? I have seen them on evenings at home after days at the Bird Fair before – we’ll see.

Remember this poem which was a Guest Blog by Steve Halton just three months ago?

Summer slips away…

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5 Replies to “A Swift exit?”

  1. Amazingly, 500 miles south in France the village Swifts are gone, too, already. There is the odd migrant- betrayed by Being mixed with Alpine Swift, only seen in the lowlands on migration.

  2. They hang on though - I saw several yesterday from Lincolnshire to the Norfolk Broads. Saw one low over the houses in our Suffolk village - a local still here? So glad for the house martins, who are stopping the skies from falling silent. Steve's poem makes me cry! I just need to await the winter arrivals as eagerly, and I'll feel better!

  3. Mark, a pair of swifts that are nesting in a box on my house in Sussex are still feeding young. However, if you didn't know about this pair you would not notice them, as they slip into and out of the box completely silently. They can't be the only ones! I wonder how many other pairs are still around and getting on quietly with the serious business of raising young?

    1. Helen - absolutely. It is getting pretty late for them now though. Some of their mates are already in west Africa. Where would you rather be?

  4. I *think* there's a solitary record in David Lack's 'Swifts in a Tower' of a pair staying as late as the beginning of October to raise young - presumably a second breeding attempt following earlier nest failure. This is from memory though, so would welcome being corrected!

    In Biggleswade I think the vast majority of the 'locals' left about 4 August, just the odd 'migrant' seen since then. When I lived in Cullompton in Devon there seemed to be two departures from the 'local' birds, most of the colony left right at the end of July or beginning of August but perhaps a third to a quarter were still around for another week or so. Younger birds breeding for the first time? Wet weather delaying the start of nesting? Changes to buildings forcing some birds to look for new nest sites? Birds not pairing up with a previous mate and having to look for a new one?

    Roll on next May (but I appreciate being reminded by Jane to also look forward now to celebrating the autumn migrants)


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