Tuesday, July 3, 2018

May & June 2018 ~ Swift Activity in my garden.

May 21st

I didn't see my Swifts at all yesterday, but this morning they were back.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised but, despite having six boxes to choose from, they dived straight back into the box they were so interested in last summer.
June 3rd
I didn't see a Swift around here for 5 days. 
Thankfully though, this morning, around 9.30am, one flew around once & then popped into No 3 box, ( the one next to the one I thought they were interested in ), then after 2 or 3 mins. it popped straight back out, flew around once & went into No. 2 box & didn't come out again.
It's good to know they're still around.  

                                                                         June 13th

Despite spending a lot of time in my garden last weekend, I haven't seen any Swifts here since June 3rd, so I was beginning to think they'd abandoned the idea of nesting here, or that perhaps something had happened to one of them, maybe even roasted in the box during this recent heat wave. However, one appeared around 6.30pm this evening & popped back into #2 box. I waited around for 20 minutes, but it didn't pop out again. Having watched the busy Swifts in Dervock yesterday though, which were popping into their nests every 5 minutes or so, it's clear to me that if my pair are nesting they have no chicks. ... Could they perhaps just be too young to get down to any serious nesting yet & may they just be spending some time at the box, preparing to get down to business in earnest next year?

June 18th

Around 7.30pm this evening a Swift returned, but failed twice to fly back into its chosen nest box. At the 2nd attempt it actually hit the front of the box a fair old wallop, but fortunately at the 3rd attempt it shot straight in.
Although they're clearly not actually nesting, I'm still delighted to see that they appear to be devoted to this nest box, so hopefully they will return next year & then be old enough to start breeding.

June 23rd
On Wednesday 20th, I saw a Swift around 5pm which then flew off S. W. .. uncharacteristically, they normally leave here flying North. I watched a Swift flying around over my garden for about 4 mins on on Friday 22nd, also around 5pm, then today, Sat. 23rd, I watched a Swift flying over the garden then off towards the S. W. again.
It's a long time now since I've seen two Swifts together here & I'm just wondering what happens when a Swift loses a partner. Do they pair for life & if so, when one dies how long before the survivor would look for a new mate?


June 24th

At noon today I saw one Swift over the garden, briefly.
However, just before 6pm this evening, the pair flew away from the direction of the nest box heading due South. The last time I saw both of them was May 21st, over a month ago, so it's wonderful to know that I still have a pair interested in that nest box enough to visit regularly.
Bit of dry grass have appeared dangling from the box, which gets my hopes up, but of course I'm sure that's only bits & pieces that my resident House Sparrows will have dragged in before deciding on the box next door, earlier this year, & they're probably just snagging on their feet as they leave.

June 25th

Interesting, I've had 3 Swifts coming back & forward since 9.30 this morning. 

It looks like my pair + 1 & it popped into the lower box at one stage.

That single Swift that arrived out here with my pair this morning & spent loads of time here, was still around on it's own when I got home & I watched it behave just as my first Swift did last year. It popped into a box & regularly flew right up to the boxes & in between times flew off in all directions & approaching the boxes from all angles, as if just memorising this spot. So it looks like I have the beginnings of a 2nd pair. 
Hope to see it return with its life partner soon.    

Easily the very best Swift Day here, so far. 
Apart from all the excitement this morning, as I pointed out earlier, the extra single Swift was floating around when I got home & I saw it again twice during the evening, but the best was yet to come.

When I went out with my dogs around 9.15, I'd been playing with the dogs for about 10 mins when I heard Swifts screaming & looked up to see first one, then three & suddenly FOUR! So of course I dashed back inside to get my camera, but when I got back outside, imagine my excitement when I realised there were now FIVE Swifts in the sky. 
Today's excitement then included the first time I'd seen a new Swift enter a nest box, 1st time I've had 4 Swifts here AND 1st time I've had 5 Swifts here.

By the way they were behaving it looked like I had two pairs plus a single bird. My pair from last year were quite easy to distinguish from the new pair, because with last year's pair, one is noticeably larger then the other, while with the new pair they are more or less the same size.
What a glorious way to end the day. I was able to watch these 5 zipping around until well after 10pm ... the Red Arrows have nothing on these guys! 😀
The new pair stuck around the longest & I did notice that they often slowed down & carried out this wing shuddering, or was it rapid wing flapping, but very short flaps. It looked to me like some sort of courtship behaviour. ? 

Swifts over my garden this evening as the sun was setting.


June 26th


Yesterday evening was the first time I had ever seen 4 ... & then 5 Swifts over my garden ~ Happy Days. 😎
What an amazing sight & far more exciting than any Red Arrows display I've ever seen. Their display lasted for over half an hour & I was grinning the whole time. 

... I only managed to snap 4 of them together.


June 27th

Six Swifts over my garden again this morning! 😎

Was finally able to put a face to the new one which seems most serious about my nest boxes. It stayed around for 10 mins. after the others left, time & time again flying right up to the boxes from all different angles.


If you look closely in the next photo, you can see that this Swift was screaming as it flew past my nest boxes, today. 

June 29th

Swifts ~ I built & installed my Nest boxes back in 2015 & this year, things are starting to get really busy, as you'll see in these photos & video clips, taken today, June 29th 2018.

Here are some photos of Swift activity in my north Antrim garden today.

Swift activity around my Nest Boxes, here in north Antrim.

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