Tuesday 7 August 2018

On Sunday our two young swifts finally left, one in the morning and one late afternoon, leaving just the adult bird to roost Sunday night. The adult bird hasn't returned since, so this is it for this year. Not quite as successful as last year, having reared just five youngsters this year but hopefully this is just a minor blip and we'll be back on track next year. So here's to next year folks, we shall return in the Spring, round about the beginning of May. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday 4 August 2018

We still have a full house in box 1, with the two youngsters and the one parent still feeding them. They are a bit more lively now, we haven't seen them sitting in the entrance peering out yet, but it shouldn't be long now before they are away. Here they are yesterday, having a good preening session:

The rest of the time they are just resting in the corner of the box. Although the box is in the shade all day I think they must still be feeling the heat a bit and are not doing much in the way of wing excercises yet.

Thursday 26 July 2018

 Yesterday the final youngster fledged from box 3 and the adults didn't return to roost last night. So that's our box 3 all finished with for the year. Sad to see them go, but happy that they all survived and hopefully will return next year. The single adult is still feeding the two youngsters in box 1 but it won't be long before they are away too!

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Yesterday two of the youngsters from box 3 left. Must have been some time late morning as they were there first thing, peering out of their doorway as usual. So last night there was just one young left in the box to roost with one parent bird. Box 1 are still all present, it will probably be around a week or so before the young are ready to leave. Here is the one remaining swiftlet in box 3 this morning:

 And here are the two youngsters in box 1 this morning:

Monday 23 July 2018

Box 1 swiftlets are growing fast, here they are looking almost the same size as those in box 3 now.

The just about a week older ones in Box 1 are looking ready to go and have been spending their time doing wing excercises and pushups:

And peering out of the entrance hole:

Here are their three cute little faces looking out of the bottom entrance:

We shall miss them when they're gone!

Wednesday 18 July 2018

 The situation today is much the same as the last couple of weeks. Box 3 youngsters are still with us but looking like they could go at any time. Box 1 are still being fed by the lone parent and are doing well now. Here are box 1 this afternoon:

And here are Box 3, together with both parents briefly...a full house! 

Saturday 14 July 2018

Some pictures taken this morning of our swiftlets, first box 1:

They're still doing OK. And here are box 3, who are starting to survey the outside world from their entrance hole. Won't be long now before they are away!

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Nothing much has changed over the last few days. There has also been little sign of any new swifts prospecting, in fact it's been extremely quiet, with just our own swifts coming in to feed the youngsters briefly and then zooming off again, in fact we hardly see them too. Here are the youngsters in box 1, they don't seem to have put on much growth, although they are starting to lose their downy feathers now:

And here are box 3 with one of the adults, they look almost fully grown now although they're only a week older than box 1, but they still have both parents coming in to feed them:

If we don't get any prospectors in the next few days/weeks I should think there's little hope for next year now that we are down to only one-and-a-half pairs.

Thursday 5 July 2018

Thought you'd like to see some video of our youngsters this morning, whilst the parents are out. First up, Box 3 who are growing really well:

And here are the two in Box 1. Notice the difference in size between the two families, Box 1 are considerably smaller, although being roughly a week younger than those in Box 3. Maybe their growth has slowed a bit as they're only being fed by the one parent now?

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Well, it seems that one of the adults in box 1 really has gone missing, and the other adult is carrying on, on it's own. Thank goodness they only had the two young, I think it would have had trouble keeping up with three. We still have a full house in box 3 though, with the youngsters continuing to grow and both parents feeding them. Let's hope one of those doesn't go missing as well....

Sunday 1 July 2018

We were a bit disappointed last night to see that one of the adults in box 1 did not return at dusk to roost. Hoping it was just having a wild night out on the town and will return today! But it's reminiscent of last year's sudden disappearance - the remaining adult carryied on, on it's own, to raise the two youngsters. Box 3 adults were both present last night though.

Saturday 30 June 2018

Still just got the two pairs with young swiftlets, although we have had some prospectors to boxes 2 and 5 but these haven't roosted as yet. Here are some videos taken yesterday evening at dusk as the parent birds came back for the night. Box 1 parents feeding the youngsters:

And Box 3 parents feeding their youngsters - the second parent comes in part way through the video to help out with the feeding...notice the difference in size between the two sets of swiftlets!

Wednesday 27 June 2018

I've been away for a week, but it's all been happening whilst I've been away. Box 1 eggs hatched out, a few days later than we thought they would but they got there in the end, it looks like there are two young swiftlets in there in this video:

Meanwhile, the youngsters in box 3 seem to have doubled in size almost, and we see that there are now three in there and not the two that we supposed previously, so that's good news!

And yesterday we had a prospector in box 2 - it didn't stop the night but it's a start....

Sunday 17 June 2018

Our visit from Dick Newell with the Swift Workshop people from the visitor centre went well - I think they were impressed with our two breeding pairs on view on the monitor in our living room - a bit of a squeeze with 17 people! Or at least one half of our breeding pairs was seen, as the two partners were out on the hunt at the time. An egg was spotted just before the visitors left as one of the birds shifted slightly. We estimate that box 3 have been incubating for just about 19 days today, so we hope to be seeing chicks very soon. Stop Press: we now have two swiftlets in box 3, video below:

Friday 15 June 2018

Not much has happened since my last post, we still have just the two pairs in box 1 and box 3, both are sitting on eggs. We have worked out that the first ones should be due to hatch around about the 18th July. Sadly too late for the impending visit from swift expert Dick Newell who is giving a talk on swifts at Cley NWT Visitor Centre, followed by a guided walk tomorrow to look at local swift nesting sites - our swift monitor is on the route. I was hoping that we might have at least some first year birds inspecting our boxes in anticipation for next year but this hasn't happened yet, in fact we are seeing very few swifts at all apart from our own. So we shan't have much to show our visitors but hopefully they'll be impressed with our breeding pairs!

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Roosting last night was the same again, two in box 1, two in box 3, none in box 2. Box 1 have laid a second egg this morning and the first one has also remained in the nest.

This photo taken this morning after both parents had gone out - hopefully they'll be back at some stage to incubate!

Monday 4 June 2018

Roosting last night were two in box 1, two in box 3 and none in box 2, although two swifts were briefly in box 2 during the day. Box 3 are still sitting on egg(s). So we still only have two resident pairs so far as opposed to the three we had last year. We decided to move the abandoned egg in box 1 back into the nest whilst they were out, which we had to repeat again later on, and they appeared to be sitting on it last night so we shall see if it ends up in the corner of the box again today!...

An update - box 1 pair have laid another egg and the first egg is still in the nest....you're supposed to actually sit ON it though, not next to it. (It's behind the CH01 lettering...the second egg is underneath the bird)

See? Like box 3 does it please! We've still been unable to see how many eggs box 3 have as one of them is always sitting tight like this.

Hopefully box 1 have got the message by now!

Saturday 2 June 2018

Last night's roost was much the same - it seems we still only have the two pairs, one pair in box 1 and one pair in box 3. Box 3 are sitting on egg(s) but not sure how many as we've only been able to catch a glimpse of one so far, and this afternoon I noticed that box 1 have also laid an egg. But it is in the corner, out of the nest and the parents have been out all day. This suggests that they are new first-time breeders and are behaving much as the pair in that box last year did, so there's not much hope there for this year at least - perhaps they'll get it right next year....below a picture of the lonely egg in the back right hand corner of the box.

Thursday 31 May 2018

Last night our roosting tally was two in box 1, no-one in box 2 - that one seems to have disappeared temporarily (we hope),  and two in box 3 which are now on eggs - how many we don't know yet but we had a glimpse of one briefly yesterday. Here's hoping box 2 finds a partner soon and returns to take up residence.

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Last night we had two birds roosting in box 1, one in box 2 and two in box 3. Still waiting for box 2 to find it's partner, we wonder if it's still on it's way or if it's been lost? Having been away in Scotland for the past couple of weeks, what has been startlingly noticable is the vast number of insects up there as compared to Norfolk and the rest of the south of England. Our vehicle was absolutely covered in insects before we left Scotland, something that we have not seen down here for years now, so food shortage must surely be one factor at least in the general decline of the swift population down here. Obviously the current fog today on the coast is not helping either, although our own swifts are managing to get out and about still. Here's hoping things pick up soon. Here is an image of one of the pair in box 3 this morning, which looks as though it could be sitting on eggs - hopefully we can confirm this shortly.

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Still off to a slow start, in fact nothing's changed since my last post in that we still have one bird roosting in box 1, none in box 2 and a pair in box 3. Although the odd extra swift has been seen flying around with our birds none has yet entered any of the boxes. Here's hoping things get better soon....

Sunday 13 May 2018

We still seem to be off to a slow start here at Cley Swifts, last night's roost was one in box 1, (although two were seen in there during the daytime and seemed to be quite happy with each other) none in box 2 (where have they gone? only one of the pair in that box has showed so far) and two in box 3, the only pair that seem to be permanently settled so far. We live in hope...

Friday 11 May 2018

Last night box 1’s partner seemed to have returned, so at roosting there were two in box 1, one in box 2 and one in box 3.

This morning’s photo shows the pair in box 1 still, box 2 is empty and box 3 seems to have found a partner. So that’s good, if box 2 was just out early (and had not moved into box 3 early this morning) then we have 5 out of 6 swifts home again.

Yesterday morning we woke up to find a pair in box 1 and a single swift in box 2.
Then last night three swifts roosted, in boxes 1, 2 and 3, each on their own, so either the partners are still out there somewhere, or at least one of them is in the wrong box…. Good to see that my newly reduced sized entrance hole (65mm x 28mm) on the new box 2 (and new box 4) is still manageable for swifts but hopefully not for starlings.

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Well, we thought they were never going to come…but yesterday swifts were seen flying past the house and on a couple of occasions some ‘screamers’ did a couple of flypasts as well. Then they were not seen again all day. But yesterday evening we found one bird roosting in box 1.

It’s a start at last, hope it’s partner turns up again soon! This afternoon, at 17.10 pm there is currently a bird in box 3 so hopefully another partner will turn up at some stage.

Saturday 21 April 2018

2018 - Another Year!

So here we are, another year. There have already been some sightings in the last few days in the UK on the Swift Local Network, so the cameras are back in and ready to go.

During the Autumn we decided to take down the concrete Schwegler swift box 2. It was far too heavy and dangerous, the camera had moved slightly and we were unable to get to it without getting up a ladder and taking it off the wall to make adjustments. Also we might have been able to foster a fallen-out-of-a nest young swift to the pair in that box last year, if it had had an opening door. So it has been replaced with a brand new wooden one, along with box 4 whose door hinges had come unstuck, both made and put up by myself - it's not the easiest thing to try to match up all the screw holes in the  back of the boxes to those already on the wall! Each box has 3 coats of cuprinol and 2 coats of exterior varnish plus roofing felt on the top so I'm hoping they will last a bit longer this time. The entrance holes have been made smaller, to exactly 65mm x 28mm to try to stop the starlings getting in, and they now have a little overhanging 'front porch' which is painted black to mimic an overhanging gutter, and a tiny 'ladder' under the entrance made of matchsticks stuck on with superglue!
Sponges were placed temporarily in the entrance holes to stop the starlings and sparrows trying to get in but we have just removed them in anticipation of an early arrival! We wonder what the box 2 pair will think of their new home - or will they even take to it at all? We certainly hope so!