Monday 19 August 2019

Postscript! We thought the adult pair in box 1 would be away shortly after their youngster left on the 13th August. Wrong, they are still here after five days on their own - looks like they like it here too much to leave yet!  Here they are in the nest last night:

Wonder how much longer they'll stay?

Wednesday 14 August 2019

A slight delay in reporting as we've been away for a week but our last remaining young swift finally fledged yesterday leaving just the parents to roost in box 1 last night. I expect they will be away today, so that’s it for this year. Here’s a final view of the two adults yesterday evening.

Here’s hoping our swifts all return next year…watch this space next May!

Thursday 1 August 2019

The last remaining youngster from box 3 fledged on 29th July but unexpectedly the lone adult was still in residence up to yesterday evening and roosted last night. We wonder if it will be on it's way today? The pair in box 1 are continuing to rear their youngster. We're not exactly sure when it will fledge as we were away when the egg hatched but it should be soon.

Friday 26 July 2019

We noticed last night that box 3 has had a bit of a clear out. Oh well, it'll save us having to do it at the end of the season! The dead swift has gone, and also, rather surprisingly, the complete nest. It's just like an empty box now with just the adult and the one remaining youngster in it. Maybe they were feeling the heat and just got rid of all the bedding as well!

This morning the youngster in box 3 was at the entrance looking out, I think it'll be away very shortly.

Meanwhile, in box 1 things are the same, the two adults and the one youngster still present, here they are last night:

They were feeling the heat too, the youngster was seen to be gasping at times.

Thursday 25 July 2019

A quick update. In box 3, one of the two young has now fledged, leaving us with one adult and one youngster. In box 1, both parents are still here as is their  youngster.

Monday 22 July 2019

Just returned from a few weeks away, so here's the latest update. Box 1's single egg has now hatched (we never did manage to get the second egg back into the nest as one of the parent birds was always in residence). Both parents are still present, thankfully, and the youngster seems to be doing well. Here they are yesterday evening, one parent on each side of the youngster:

We left box 3 with one adult rearing three youngsters, the partner having disappeared quite early on. Sadly this was too much for one bird to cope with and one of the young had obviously died whilst we were away. The other two seem to be doing well though, in fact we thought they probably would have already flown by the time we returned, but they are still here, with the single parent still caring for them.

Here they are yesterday afternoon while the parent is out feeding:

As far as we can tell, none of the other boxes have been visited by other swifts. We live in hope for next year!

Saturday 29 June 2019

29th June

We had a visit from Dick Newell on the 26th  June, along with his Swift Workshop clients, to see our swifts as part of their talk which Dick gave at Cley Visitor Centre as part of the Swift Awareness Week. We could just about fit them all into our small living room and we were able to show them the three youngsters in box 3 which were on their own at the time of the visit, but luckily the parent bird came in to feed whilst everyone was there so that was nice for them to see. They also saw Box 1 still sitting on their one egg - there are still two adult birds and the second egg is still out of the nest as we haven’t been able to get it back in.  Box 3 youngsters are still making good progress despite only having one parent to feed them, here they are this afternoon, rather fidgetty presumably because they're feeling a bit warm in today's heat!

Monday 24 June 2019

missing parent box 3

On the evening of the 22nd June one of the birds in box 3 did not return. So there is just the lone parent there now to bring up the three young. They are making good progress and taking up all the space in the nest now, we just hope the lone parent manages to feed them enough to get them to fledging, which should be around 26th July onwards. We estimate that the egg in box 1 will hatch around the 3rd July. Things are looking pretty dire around here, we are seeing very few swifts and there have been no screaming parties doing fly-pasts of our boxes or entering any of them. We just hope that they do eventually turn up…it’s all very quiet here and if there are no last year's youngsters about it's not looking good for next year. Here are box 3 chicks this morning:

Saturday 22 June 2019

Egg still out...

We're still looking for a chance to get the stray egg back into box 1’s nest. Here’s a video showing the adult bird having found the egg and trying to get it back into the nest but without much success. Unfortunately they have gone a bit overboard with the feathering, using rather large feathers and making the nest rim extra deep...we're still keeping an eye out for both of the adults leaving the nest but really don't think there's much chance of saving the egg now.

Another egg out of the nest

Yesterday evening we looked at box 1 and to our dismay found that one of the two eggs has come out of the nest. We're currently waiting for an opportunity to get it back in there but it seems less likely that we'll be able to as time goes on as one of the birds is always on the nest. We could try putting it back anyway, but risk flushing the sitting bird and losing any hope of the second egg hatching, but we'll keep an eye on it for any opportunity. It may be too late anyway, since the egg has been out of the nest for several hours overnight. Here is box 1 showing the stray egg yesterday evening:

Box 3 are still doing well with their three chicks, the young are growing fast and taking up all the space in the nest now:

Friday 14 June 2019

Baby swifts

Good news, the eggs in box 3 have hatched. We think they hatched yesterday as there are the tell tale bits of egg shell in the box at the side of the nest. In this video below you can just about see at least two young swifts beneath the parent bird. Let's hope they make it to fledging without any mishaps!

Thursday 13 June 2019

Another egg!

Hooray! Another egg has appeared in box 1 this morning, that's great news. I took this photo whilst both parents went out, so this might mean that another egg will arrive tomorrow and then incubation will start in earnest. Today is also hatching day for box 3...not seen any activity yet but we will keep a lookout from now on.

Monday 10 June 2019

An egg in box 1!

This morning the pair in box 1 laid an egg. At last! Hopefully there'll be more to come over the next couple of days.

Friday 7 June 2019

A quick update

Just a quick update to say that nothing much has changed really. Box 3 are still incubating their three eggs, and box 1 still has a partner so that's good, but as yet they have not laid any eggs. Other than that there's really not much activity going on here. We have not had any parties of swifts flying around here, other than our own little colony who tend to fly around in the ususal 'gang of three', while the fourth one is on the nest. Hopefully the rest of our nestboxes will be discovered by some other passing swifts at some stage.

Friday 31 May 2019

Box 1 has a partner!

Whoopee, at last box 1 single now has a partner! She (presumably) has had a visitor over the last couple of days, but as yet he has not been allowed entry into the box, but this morning, after hearing a lot of screaming we turned on the monitor to find that at last a partner had been allowed into the box. So hopefully we now have two pairs in residence. Here are box 1 pair getting to know each other:

Box 3 pair are still sitting on their three eggs and so far none of them have fallen out of the nest again. We reckon the young will hatch around the 13/14th June.

Sunday 26 May 2019

Houston, we have a problem!

As I thought, earlier this morning, one of the swifts in box 3 laid a third egg. But here lies the problem:

As you can see, the third egg is out of the nest. But all is not lost, as one of the advantages of having nest boxes next to opening windows, and the nest boxes themselves having opening side doors, is that you can wait until the both birds vacate. They did so shortly after this video and we were able to whizz upstairs and replace the third egg in the nest concave. Hopefully it'll stay there this time - if not we'll have to do it all again!

The third egg now replaced in the nest:

No change

Still no change in the swift situation here, we still have the pair on eggs in box 3, and the single in box 1 has yet to find a partner.

 This morning, one of the pair in box 3, presumably the male, came in with more feathers for the nest:

We were expecting the normal morning changeover, but the partner on the nest won't budge so he climbs right over her and starts putting the feathers at the back. She lends a bit of help at this stage, but still won't budge:

in the end he gives up, leaving her on the nest. You can just get a glimpse of the two eggs in this video:

Finally, he leaves the box again. The bird on the nest appears to be straining a bit. Is it about to lay another egg and is this why it didn't want to move off the nest?

Hopefully more news later.

Friday 24 May 2019

Eggs at last!

Having just watched the morning changeover on the nest camera, we are happy to confirm that the pair in box 3 are now incubating two eggs.

Box 1 single continues to be on it’s own so far, but we’re hoping that it will now find a mate in the second wave of swifts to arrive.

9.30 am and box 3 pair have just gone out for a feed, leaving the two eggs. Hopefully this means that a further egg is due before incubation starts in earnest.

Thursday 16 May 2019

As of this morning we still only have the three swifts in residence. Box 3 pair are spending a lot of time in the box, (but have just gone out as I write!) and box 1 single comes and goes, but all three are roosting at night. It is obvious that whatever partner that box 1 had went missing so we're very much hoping that it will bring in a new partner very shortly.

 All gone out for the day!

Monday 13 May 2019

One more back

Last night, box 2 swift was joined by it's partner, so we now have three swifts in residence. Here are all three at roost last night:

Still waiting for box 1's partner to turn up.

Sunday 12 May 2019

I'm happy to report that this morning one of box 3 pair returned and spent some time in the box preening and re-arranging the nesting material.


We're hoping that we'll have both box 1 and box 3 occupied by at least one of each pair tonight - hopefully more news tomorrow!

Saturday 11 May 2019

They're back!

Welcome back readers, I'm happy to say that Cley Swifts is now live again with the arrival home of our first swift yesterday evening, into box 1, just one day late from last year.

The newly-sized entrance holes that we made last year (exactly 65mm x 28mm) seem to have worked this year - so far we've had no invasions of starlings or sparrows in any of the boxes so hopefully we may get some other swift takers this year. We're now eagerly awaiting the arrival of box 1's partner (always a bit of a worry - has anything happened to it since we last saw it?) and hopefully the arrival of box 3 pair shortly.