Tuesday 26 May 2020

A second bird in Box 1

I was woken up very early this morning by swifts constantly screaming from the box outside our bedroom window. They seem to scream every time a starling appears and there are an awful lot of them on our birdfeeders right now. So I turned on the cameras to see what was going on. Yay! A second swift in Box 1!
Lets hope it sticks around and they get down to business.

A third bird turns up

Good news - we now have a third resident who turned up late on the 23rd and went straight into Box 1.

It then roosted for the next 2 nights and is accompanying our pair from Box 3 on their feeding flights and returning to Box 1 in between.  It did occur to me that maybe it’s Box 1’s partner turned very late, only to find that his ‘wife’ has now shacked up with the neighbour in Box 3 and is sitting on two eggs. Oops!  Never mind, we’ve seen a party of five flying about the house - we think three of them are ‘ours’ and the other two just hangers on so hopefully the single in Box 1 will partner up with one of them. We shall see! Meanwhile the pair in Box 3 are now taking turns in incubating so this makes hatching expected around the 15th June

Monday 25 May 2020

Another egg laid

Yesterday’ s view of the nest.

We now have two eggs. We’re hoping that there won’t any more, if, as in previous years, we lose one of the parent birds, we shall be left with one bird trying to rear three young on its own. Had we got any other nesting birds we could have transferred the egg to another nest, but we don’t and won’t have for this year. So here’s hoping there are no more.

Saturday 23 May 2020

First egg laid

Yesterday the swifts laid their first egg but I was unable to photograph it until this morning,when both the parents went out on their feeding flight. Here’s a photo:

Hopefully we shall have more in the next few days.

Monday 18 May 2020

A pair at last

Well, I’m happy to say that the singles in  Box 1 and Box 3 seem to have got together at last and have now taken up permanent residence in Box 3. Nest building is under way and they are bringing in more feathers and spending some time in the box during the daytime.

The nest itself is rather interesting, and I thought you’d like to see this:

Apart from feathers a lot of it seems to be made up of grass or reeds. We’ve not seen this before. No sparrows have entered the box either, as the swifts are there quite a lot of the time. So there must be quite a bit of grass floating about in the air!

So sadly this year we are down to just one pair of swifts, from what were three pairs a couple of years ago. We just hope that with the second and third waves we might get some prospectors for next year.. Here they are in their grassy nest!

Friday 15 May 2020

A pair in Box 3 again.

Last night again no change to the two roosting birds, one in Box 1 and one in Box 3.  But this morning, yet again there were two in Box 3 first thing. They look happy enough,  let’s hope they decide to settle down together! Here’s a video:

Wednesday 13 May 2020

No change so far

Sadly no change here so far, last night we had two the separate individuals roosting in Boxes 1 & 3. They have been seen flying during the daytime with the third swift but so far it hasn’t joined either of them in the boxes. Hopefully the slighter better weather might bring some more in.

Monday 11 May 2020

All gone out for the day

Well, yesterday the pair stayed in Box 3 all day due to the awful weather, but to our surprise one of them left at dusk during that wind and rain and didn’t return overnight. Neither did anyone return to roost in Box 1, but this morning there was one in Box 1 and one in Box 3. So we still don’t know what’s going on, whether these are two individuals or three.  At present, lunchtime, they are all out feeding so we’ll see what happens tonight.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Another one in Box 3

Up till now we’ve just had the two individuals in Boxes 1 and 3, but yesterday afternoon I noticed the usual ‘gang of three’ flying around. But last night just the two lone individuals roosted again. However, this morning there were two in Box 3 and none in Box 1. Either Box 1 had already gone out, or the individual in Box 1 has moved to Box 3.

We shan’t know either way until this evening when they come back to roost. During the week whilst Box 3 was unoccupied during the daytime we collected some feathers and some fluff from some reedmace and put it into Box 3 to help them along a bit. This morning, one of the pair was happily sticking them down and has made a nice nest of them, whilst the other individual was bringing in more feathers. Here’s a short video:

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Another one home

Last night one of the pair from Box 1 returned and roosted overnight. We’re glad to see that it didn’t seem to be bothered that it was a new nestbox and since we’d replaced the nesting material from last year, (which was glued to a removable plywood insert)  the inside would have looked exactly the same as it did before. Here’s hoping  that more swifts turn up this week.

Monday 4 May 2020

First swift home

We're happy to say that last night one of the pair from Box 3 returned and roosted over
nest building is required now!

We look forward to the arrival of it’s partner along with the arrival of the pair in Box 1.

Friday 1 May 2020

Another year

Welcome back folks, Cley Swifts is now 'live' again for 2020 (optimistically)! Over the winter Box 1 was looking a little past it so I decided to make a replacement. This time out of pine, painted with Cuprinol on the outside and then varnished several times with exterior varnish and some roofing felt on the top. Hopefully it'll outlive us now! It's exactly the same size, position and using the same screw holes as the previous Box 1. However it was a bit heavier than the previous one and I really didn't think I should be going up ladders any more, so I 'got a man in' to do it.Which he did, no bother at all and now it's up and ready for our hopefully returning swifts. We spent last week getting the cameras into the boxes and the wires through the windows and it's all plugged in and ready to go.

Box 1 is the first box on the left of this picture, the rest are numbers 2,3,4,5 and 6 in that order. There are also two artificial House Martin nests next to Box 6, just above the window and although there is a colony of House Martins on a house four doors away these have never been used. We live in hope!
There's no sign of  our swifts yet although swifts have been seen locally. Hopefully they will turn up again this year during the next week or so.