Wednesday 31 May 2017

Another egg!

Not much has changed over the last couple of days, other than that a pair of starlings started roosting in box 6 and then started building a nest. Before they could get too far we removed the nesting material whilst they were out and put a temporary baffle on the entrance to keep them out until they had moved on elsewhere.

The baffle is now off again and hopefully some more swifts will have a look at it, and also box 5 which has had no interest so far. The other starling is still in box 4, we think it has four eggs. The good news today is that whilst box 2 were out we were able to see that they now have three eggs in their nest.

So that's five eggs that we know about - of course box 3 could also have three eggs but we've been unable to see them as they are constantly being incubated.
Box 1 have made no attempt to build a nest, although they are roosting every night and seem settled, so we gave them a helping hand -  some feathers stuck onto a sheet of thin plywood and slipped it into their box whilst they were out for the day. Hoping this might encourage them to get moving themselves!

Sunday 28 May 2017

Another egg

We still have our three pairs of swifts in boxes 1, 2, and 3. Box 3 already have two eggs, and yesterday box 2 laid another egg, so that's four altogether and both pairs are now incubating. As is the starling in box 4 but we're unable to see the nest as there is so much bedding blocking the camera view! The pair of swifts in box 1 have not started making a nest yet and are mainly using it as a roost.

Friday 26 May 2017

More eggs

Box 1 single swift  found a partner on the 24th and they have  roosted together since, so this is great news, our 'gang of 5' is now a 'gang of 6'.  Box 2 swifts laid an egg this morning, and box 3 swifts also laid a second egg this morning.

Box 2, single egg laid this morning:

Box 3, second egg laid this morning:

A couple of flight shots of 'our' swifts coming in over the garden:

Wednesday 24 May 2017

We have an egg!

Our 'gang' of three has now become a 'gang of five' with the single swift now residing in box 1. So if you see five swifts flying together around our home, they'll be ours!  We're hoping the single swift will find a partner soon. There's been nothing new to report over the last couple of days, other than that the starlings are still occupying box 4 and one was seen to enter box 5 yesterday morning briefly but it didn't stay. The good news today is that box 3 swifts have laid an egg! That was unexpected, we thought box 2 might be the first to start laying, but then again, their nest is so deep and feathery that it would be difficult to see any eggs even if they were there. Hopefully we will have another egg in box 3 by tomorrow morning.

Saturday 20 May 2017

An intruder in box 3

Yesterday was rainy most of the day so the swifts didn't go out very much. Both pairs were present, those in box 2 and box 3, and the starlings in box 4. I went up to check at 6.30pm to find a fight going on in box 3, obviously an intruder was trying to find shelter for the night. I video-d it until 6.40 when the intruder was finally ejected, but I don't know how long it had been in there before 6.30pm. As you can see, one of the resident pair is on the nest and takes no notice at all until they both get to the back of the box and then they all join in until the intruder makes its escape.

Later on that evening a swift entered box 1 (this is the first time anything has ever been in box 1!) and roosted overnight along with the other two pairs and the starlings. We wonder if it was the one that was ejected from box 3 earlier?

Wednesday 17 May 2017

17th May

Last night just the 'gang of three' (as we have always called them) swifts roosted, two in box 3 and one in box 2. Then this morning, two starlings were continuing their nest-building in box 4. Today has been rainy on and off, the swifts have been coming and going throughout the day, but at 3.45 when I checked the cameras I was delighted to see a second swift in box 2. It looked slightly nervous as if it hadn't been in that box before, but soon settled down with the resident swift and there was some mutual preening.... So we live in hope that box 2 has found a partner again!

As you can see below, taken this morning, the starling nest in box 4 is getting rather large, I think we might lose all camera view soon!

Monday 15 May 2017

Up till yesterday, the single bird in box 3 was still alone, but was still making adjustments to the nest:

Then last night it was all change, only one bird roosting in box 2 and two birds in box 3 ... so what's going on here then? Has box 3 found a mate, or has the male of box 2 simply gone into the wrong box? Has he actually got two wives?

Meanwhile, in box 4 a starling has moved in and has put some nesting material in there. It also roosted last night on its own. No doubt the nest will get much larger - last year it virtually filled the box and blocked the camera view!

Sunday 14 May 2017

A punch-up in box 4

We fixed the wonky camera in box 4 after the starling dislodged it yesterday, (not while the starling was in there I hasten to add), but it didn't return again until this morning, when at 7.30 am there was an almighty punch-up between it and another starling inside the box. This went on for just under half an hour and it was extremely vicious, but unfortunately the video I took didn't come out too well. I'm not sure any swifts could compete with this but maybe I'm wrong! Meanwhile, the pair in box 2 roosted overnight, with the single again in box 3. Today there have been several fly pasts, with a single bird entering box 5 with a feather, but up to the time of writing it has not visited again. Maybe it'll come in to roost this evening.

Saturday 13 May 2017

Saturday 13th May

After having three single swifts in boxes 2, 3, and 4 on the 11th May, last night we had a pair roost in box 2, and a single in box 3. Wonder if the one that was in box 4 should really have been in box 2 with the other one - had it got confused? This morning all three were present, but a starling is trying to move into box 4 and has dislodged the camera, so we'll have to fix that later today. We're hoping that the occupant of box 3 will find a partner very soon!

Thursday 11 May 2017

They're back!

We have swifts at last! On the evening of 10th May, two birds returned to boxes 2 and 3. We hadn't touched the nesting materials, just left the boxes as they were at the end of last year so that the swifts could sort out their own bedding. They've been in and out this morning and look settled, we're hoping we'll get some takers for the other 4 boxes shortly. So it looks like we are in business again after a long winter wait!