Wednesday, June 21, 2017

All of a sudden, things are getting pretty hectic now, up here on the hill.

I was able to spend about an hour watching Swifts in my garden this evening. 
It's been a long time coming but well worth the wait.
When I went out this evening I saw that I had two Swifts flying over my garden. 
During the next hour they never flew further away from my house than the far side of one field - in any direction & I was delighted to see that they kept coming back to the space above my house & garden & spent more time over it than outside this area. This surely indicates that they do actually like this spot.
After 10 minutes a third Swift joined them & stuck with them for about 10 mins.
Before today I'd never ever seen more than one Swift around here, but this morning I had my first Two & this evening my first Three!
As if that wasn't exciting enough, as I lay back on top of the remnants of a dry stane dyke watching their acrobatics ... SIX other Swifts suddenly joined them!
This was indeed a day to remember, because I thought it would take years to see so many Swifts here at one time. 
However, as quickly as these six new Swifts had arrived, they just as swiftly dashed off, heading north towards Ballycastle, leaving the original three!
I couldn't have been more excited if the Red Arrows had suddenly performed above my house.

Anyway, after about 25 mins of hunting & feeding they turned their attention to the nest boxes.
One flew back to the 2nd top box they'd been in this morning, while the other flew into the one above. The top one was inside for about 10 mins. and actually threw out a few bits of nesting material that may have been taken in by some of my resident Sparrows.
That one came out while the other remained inside for a further 10 mins.
After about 5 mins. the one that was outside decided to visit the lowest box, much to the disgust of a pair of Sparrows. It looks like their days are numbered in these boxes.
Female House Sparrow which landed here immediately after the Swift flew in.
Male Sparrow shouting his annoyance while the Swift was inside.
They had a good innings but it looks like their days are numbered.
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Things are looking much better in 2017!

No takers in 2016 & only saw one Swift flying near my home all summer.

Things are looking much better in 2017! 

This morning was the first time I'd ever seen two Swifts flying overhead, here. They spent a good 10 to 15 minutes flying around, low & high, carrying out numerous close fly pasts of the nest boxes, before one, after a few attempts, plopped in. As soon as its mate followed it in, the neighbours, a pair of House Sparrows who've been squatting two boxes down & successfully rearing broods for the past two years, called by to complain about these new residents ... who are clearly - lowering the tone of the neighbourhood! :-)
So this is a major step in the right direction. Hopefully they liked the box & will return to actually nest here, next year.
Since 2015 I've been longing to see Swifts trying out one of my nest boxes!
This was the first time I've ever seen TWO Swifts in this area near my home.
After about 15 mins of fly pasts, first one & then the other Swift popped in.
The next door neighbours called by to complain about these Swifts moving in & lowering the tone of the neighbourhood!
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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Getting Started in 2016!

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I've been playing the Swift Calls CD every morning & evening & almost all day Saturday & Sunday for one week now, but haven't seen any Swifts around here ... yet.

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Last Swift inspection of 2015 ~ 7th August!

The 7th of August was the last time I saw a Swift come to inspect the Nest Boxes.
Now I can only keep my fingers crossed & hope that this one survives the long trip to & from Africa & remembers where these boxes are.
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First Swift Photo ~ 31st July 2015!

With me playing the Swift Calls for at least 8 hours a day, for the past few weeks, I got my first photo of a Swift checking out the new nest boxes on the 31st of July.
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Monday, July 13, 2015

The first Swift flew by ~ today!

I've been broadcasting the Swift Calls CD now for a full week.

 I've had the calls playing from between 3 to 14 hours each day, but I had still not seen a single Swift in the area.

However this morning, on the 8th day, which turned out to be a dreadfully damp & dreary, wet, mizzly day, I had taken the player down & rested it on the window sill while I walked my dogs before switching it off & taking it inside out of the wet, when the first Swift suddenly appeared!

It flew around the house once, then once around my 1 acre paddock before headed South, without ever going near my boxes.

Hopefully the next one will stay a little longer & be just a bit more curious.

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Heat problems with a South facing aspect.

I was well aware that my South facing wall wasn't ideal.

This is why I adapted a common nest box design by adding the false roof, front & side to each box.

However, tucking them under the eaves also helps to keep the harmful rays of the sun from heating up the interior of each box, too much.

As you can see in the next two photos, even although this is 1pm on a sunny day, the boxes themselves are being protected & are mostly in shade.

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By the middle of the afternoon, only a thin strip of direct sunshine is reaching the lower right corner of each actual nest box.

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By 5pm, the boxes are all in full shade. 

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