Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Swift Updates for 2020 (Early Days)







Unfortunately we are unable to organise Swift meetings this year because of the restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

May I suggest for anyone who wishes to report any records that they use the power of the media to let others know of their sightings. If you want to send reports through to me via email (bryan.yorke@sky.com) I will gladly include within the site.

My intentions are to have exercise by walking through the Village occasionally and to briefly stop off at the usual Swift sites to try and get a rough idea of what is going on and then to post it on this site for the results to go public to anyone who wishes to follow.

Hopefully we shall have more details to report over the coming days.......

Please keep safe and well

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Click here Worth checking out - watching thousands
of Swifts departing today on 28th June - going South
past the headlands at Filey. 

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Thursday June 11th 2020

One going into the nest at Hangings Farm in Cocking Yard now confirmed, also another one going into a nest on the opposite side (thanks to Jane for these records)

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Tuesday June 2nd 2020

1000hrs: A bird seen leaving the roof eaves at the long established nest site on the Post Office Building. 


Cottages next to Post Office 
Click over to enlarge


Also showing the nest site one metre from LH side
on front of Royal Cottage


This shows the current nesting situation which we are aware of.

Top left: One in small hole on rear of Royal annexe, and also one nesting on the small return of the annexe (both marked 2020). Also shows one nesting on the small extension to the back of the main building.  Also shows the one on the front of the Royal Cottage about one metre from LH.  And another on the small cottages at the side of the Post Office. 5 nest sites now confirmed.  

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Monday June 1st 2020

11 Swifts in the sky between the Memorial Hall and the Royal Hotel, also another 3 seen around the Coaching House and Manor House.

Lots of banging going on tonight with several Swifts attempting to land at the gutter levels on the front of the Coaching House, just one bird actually entered a regular nest site which was about two metres from the LH side. A Jackdaw saw this banging going on and came and sat on the plastic guttering and has the Swifts attempted going into nest site the Jackdaw tried to reach down and catch them. 

Lots more immatures banging on the soffitt areas of the No.1 property directly across from the Kings. 
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Wednesday May 20th 2020
2015hrs

6 Swifts in the sky between the Kings and Neddy Hill and back towards the bowling green.

2 Swifts went into the far top left corner of the Royal side extension.  Also another Swift went into the return on the back of the old cottage annexe, so that now brings the nest sites confirmed to 4 (all on the Royal buildings)




above shows the new recorded site tonight.  The site was confirmed to be used also in 2013

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Tuesday May 12th 2020

Only 2 Swifts on show tonight at 2000hrs over
Royal/Neddy Hill and Memorial Hall

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Sunday May 10th 2020

5 Swifts over back of Memorial Hall at 2015hrs
Extremely cold air

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Saturday May 9th 2020

Updates after one week (May 2nd arrival):

We have 9 Swifts back on territory SO FAR!
We are aware of at least 3 established nest sites being used SO FAR!

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Friday May 8th 2020 (VE Day) 

7 Swifts seen over Royal to Kings/Neddy Hill areas

And 2 Swifts entering nest site at the same time of the Royal Cottage rear annexe return


Shows todays record of nesting on return of annexe

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Thursday May 7th 2020

6 Swifts seen over Main Street, Royal Hotel areas at 2015hrs 

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Wednesday May 6th 2020

9 Swifts seen over Memorial Hall to Royal (increase of 2)
Also one seen going into the small nest hole on the rear of the Royal Cottage annexe.




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Tuesday May 5th 2020

7 Swifts over area to back of Royal Hotel at 2015hrs. Up to 4 chasing and screaming.

5 Swifts seen over Orchard Close/Morewood/Burton Memorial at approx 1600hrs


***1 Swift seen entering a nest site *** on the front of the old Royal Cottage at approx 1100hrs (per.comms: Branwen Kilburn

3 Swifts seen over Cocking Yard and Royal at 0814hrs (per comms: Jane Phillips)

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Monday May 4th 2020

2 Swifts seen above the Royal to Kings area at 1100hrs

Swifts this morning reported to be piling in-off the area of Bridport.

Over 70 Swifts (0930 to 1030hrs this morning through Nailsworth, Cotswolds, Glos .......

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Sunday May 3rd 2020

3 Swifts seen over Cocking Yard at 1615hrs (per comms: Jane Phillips)

3 Swifts flying together overhead of Orchard Close/Glebe Close areas
at 1400hrs

43510 Swifts counted coming through Etang de Canet - Saint Nazaire (Pyrennes Orientales, 66) Southern France - count over 9 hours from 0630 to 1630hrs

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Saturday May 2nd 2020

Our first Burton Swift arrived back with us at 1600hrs and was seen high overhead of Orchard Close.

Also a Swift seen (probably the same one) at 1945hrs above Main Street and again later at 2005hrs at the bottom of Neddy Hill (per comms: Phil Mann)


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Thursday April 30th 2020

Had my first Swift of the year today at 1500hrs passing overhead to NW whilst going passed Travellers Choice Coaches near Carnforth

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Friday, 23 August 2019

Burton Swifts - 2019 Summary



Nest site activity recorded at:  

1.   On the front elevation of small cottages adjoining the post office - 1 pair recorded
2.   Cocking Yard - Riggs House (front and back) Hangings Farm and another - 4 pairs recorded
3.   Royal Hotel - Cottage - Front Elevation - 5 pairs confirmed
4.   Royal Hotel - Rear Cottage Annexe - 3 pairs confirmed
5.   Royal Hotel - Rear Cottage Annexe return - 1 pair confirmed
6.   The Coaching House - Gable End (North facing) 3 pairs confirmed
7.   The Manor House - Front of House- 1 pairs confirmed
8.   The Manor House - Front attached low elevation - 1 pair confirmed
9.   The Manor House - Gable End (North facing) 2 pair confirmed 
10. Lowther House/Clawthorpe Hall - Rear of Lowther - 3 nest confirmed

Total nest sites recorded

24 nest sites in total confirmed (which is a decrease of 1 compared to 2018) 

Arrival and departure

The first Swift arrived back and was recorded 2030hrs above the Memorial Hall on Thursday 2nd May 2019, then 4 were recorded on the 4th May, 6 on the 7th May, 12 on the 12th May and up to 20 the following day the 13th May. 

We still had 40 Swifts around the village on Monday 29th July, this dropped to 35 on Wednesday the 31st July, 30 by Friday 2nd August and still 20 by Sat and Sun 3rd and 4th August, dropped to 10 by Monday 5th, to 3 by Tuesday 6th and the last count still showed 3 on Wed August 14th 2019.

Highest number of birds counted in the skies at any one time

As usual the better counts came more to the end of the Swift season of which the highest numbers recorded were: 40 on Mon 29th July 2019 

Observers over the 12 weeks included: Mary Bullimore, Annabel Campbell, Reg Hesketh, Branwen Kilburn, Hugh and Sue Miles, Angela Sumner, Bryan Yorke


Below are photos showing the various nest sites with their histories marked in red (definite) and some with yellow (unsure)


2019 site at the Cottages attached to the Post Office (1 site)

2019 sites within Cocking Yard (4 sites)

2019 nest sites on the rear of the Royal Hotel


2019 nest sites on the front of the Royal Hotel Cottage


2019 nest sites on gable of Coaching House


2019 nest sites on Gable and front and annexe of Manor House



2019 nest sites on Lowther House, Clawthorpe Hall



Thanks to everyone who came along this year and enjoyed the Swifts and I look forward to next year when we hope the birds will be back flying above our village from the 4th May 2020

Friday, 2 August 2019

Burton Swifts - Thursday 1st August 2019 week.....



Monday 26th 2019
It is very possible we did miss some late birds this year.  I had 3 separate reports of birds still present in the areas between the Manor House and the Royal. None of these reports were definately confirmed as Swifts but in all cases the reports were thought to be.  The latest of these was on 

Wednesday 14th August 2019

(2015hrs)  3 Swifts over Memorial Hall

Tuesday 13th August 2019

(2030hrs) 2 Swifts over Memorial Hall

Monday 12th August 2019

(1630hrs) 2 Swifts over Neddy Hill and Cocking Yard

Sunday 11th August 2019

(2015hrs) 2 Swifts over the South of the Village (Reg)

Thursday 8th August 2019

(0945hrs)  2 Swifts over Neddy Hill/Cocking Yard (Reg)

Wednesday 7th August 2019

(2100hrs) 2 Swifts over Memorial Hall and Neddy Hill (Reg)

Tuesday 6th August 2019

(2015hrs) 3 Swifts seen with 2 over the Kings/Coach House/Manor House areas and just a solitary bird over the Memorial Hall.

Monday 5th August 2019

(2100hrs)  at least 10 Swifts again with Martins closeby down Neddy Hill
(0900hrs) 2 Swifts seen above the Royal area

Sunday 4th August 2019

(2030hrs) At least 10 Swifts in with 15 House Martins above Memorial Hall
(0800hrs) At least 20 Swifts still with us at all low points between Kings and Memorial Hall

Saturday 3rd August 2019

(2100hrs) At least 20 Swifts flying above Memorial Hall and Neddy Hill
(0900hrs) 17 minimum Swifts flying in the skies above the Royal to the Kings with occasional Memorial Hall/Neddy Hill

Friday 2nd August 2019

(2100hrs) Still 30 Swifts over Memorial Hall and down towards Neddy Hill. 
(0900hrs) I had 30 Swifts over Memorial Hall.
also Jane reported 20-30 in screaming party between Cocking Yard and Memorial Hall.

Thursday 1st August 2019

We met up at 2000hrs at the Memorial Hall to observe the Swifts as a group for the last time this year.
It seemed pretty clear that quite a lot of birds had departed earlier in the day and we only managed to count the largest number in the skies at one time as 15 birds with the best screaming party of 7 birds. Most of the birds were being seen between the Memorial Hall and towards the bottom of Neddy Hill, although you could also see birds above Main Street towards the Kings area. 

We also managed to see on two separate occasions the birds nesting on the cottages on the Post Office block enter its nest site by the eaves.

Notes are still being gathered on a daily basis for the next 10-14 days just to try and ascertain on what date the last birds leave us, so please keep checking the site for up to date information over the coming fortnight.  Also I will send one further email with a summary, in about two weeks time which hopefully will show how the Swifts have faired this year.

Tonights observers included: Reg Hesketh, Sue and Hugh Miles, Angela Sumner and Bryan Yorke. 

Here below are notes from the past week showing the numbers of Swifts we have had:

Thursday 1st August 2019

(2000hrs) 15 Swifts above Memorial Hall/Neddy Hill areas

(0930hrs)  14 Swifts above Memorial Hall/Neddy Hill areas

Wednesday 31st July 2019

(2030hrs) 35 Swifts above Memorial Hall/Neddy Hill areas
(0800hrs) 18 Swifts above Memorial Hall/Neddy Hill areas

Tuesday 30th July 2019

(2100hrs) Only 6 Swifts seen over Memorial Hall and Neddy Hill areas, none seen down near Coach House/Manor House. Also small screaming party heard whilst walking down by Neddy Hill.  Looks possible that lots of Swifts departed earlier today....

Monday 29th July 2019

(2100hrs) Still 40 Swifts around the village, with approx 30 over the Royal/Memorial Hall whilst approx 10 down near the Manor/Coach House.

Friday 26th July 2019

Friday morning still lots of Swifts about with 40 at the North End of Main Street and 10 at the South End of Main Street 


***Of note (and revised): It was reported on 31st July 2019 that 10,000 Swifts past south through Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire***

Friday, 26 July 2019

Burton Swifts - Thursday 25th July 2019 week



Thursday 1st August 2019

(0930hrs)  14 Swifts above Memorial Hall/Neddy Hill areas

Wednesday 31st July 2019

(2030hrs) 35 Swifts above Memorial Hall/Neddy Hill areas
(0800hrs) 18 Swifts above Memorial Hall/Neddy Hill areas

Tuesday 30th July 2019

(2100hrs) Only 6 Swifts seen over Memorial Hall and Neddy Hill areas, none seen down near Coach House/Manor House. Also small screaming party heard whilst walking down by Neddy Hill.  Looks possible that lots of Swifts departed earlier today....

Monday 29th July 2019

(2100hrs) Still 40 Swifts around the village, with approx 30 over the Royal/Memorial Hall whilst approx 10 down near the Manor/Coach House.

Friday 26th July 2019

Friday morning still lots of Swifts about with 40 at the North End of Main Street and 10 at the South End of Main Street 

Thursday 25th July 2019

It has been a Swift week without doubt! but is this gathering all a advance warning to say our little friends are about to leave us! I am sure it is.  They usually start to depart somewhere around the 28th July and over the next week or so.

The story begins the day before which was Wednesday, when Sandra on her way back from her walk phoned me to say that there were large numbers of Swifts all along Main Street and lots of chasing parties. This was about 2100hrs.  So off I went to meet her and we watched numerous Swifts at every point along the Main Street from the Memorial Hall as far as the Manor House. To be honest I have never seen so many Swifts at one time and they were too numerous to count properly although I did manage to confirm at least 40 but this was without doubt a very low estimate to what there must have been and I would have guessed somewhere between 50 to 60 birds were making the most of it. I even recorded one screaming party of at least 20 trailing birds, what a brilliant watch.


So back to last night, we met up as usual at the Memorial Hall and did our full watch from there. We seemed to count a maximum of 10 birds for the first half hour, and then it all changed! when more and more birds started coming into the group and before long we were counting up to 40 birds with at one time a screaming party of 32 birds.  Also whilst watching from the Memorial Hall we did see on two separate occasions birds entering their nest site on the Cottage across the road attached to the Post Office, also we saw low flyers diving sharply as though perhaps they were going into nest sites within Cocking Yard. Again another magical Swift evening. 

During the week I received a lovely email from SOS Martinets (France) showing a small film they have made which will be going on at their local cinemas before the main film to bring awareness of the plight of our Swifts - please click over the following links (use translator usually shown in top corner): 






Tonight's observers included: Mary Bullimore, Reg Hesketh, Angela Sumner and Bryan Yorke.

Nest sites occupied so far this year = (25) 

Post Office Buildings (1)
Cocking Yard (5) maxed
Royal Cottage rear (4) maxed
Royal Cottage front (5) out of 7
Coach House gable and rear (3) 
Manor House gable, front and annexe (4) out of 6
Clawthorpe Hall Offices and Lowther House (3) 

Historic final end of season counts were as follows:
2018 = 25 sites
2017 = 22 sites
2016 = 23 sites
2015 = 20 sites


The next Swift watch will be probably be the very last watch of the year next Thursday 1st August 2019  - Meeting at the Memorial Hall at 2000hrs - Everyone Welcome  


Friday, 19 July 2019

Burton Swifts - Thursday 18th July 2019 week





As usual we met up at the Memorial Hall at 2000hrs, we counted a maximum of 11 birds in the skies overhead, and much later we counted 10 birds over the Manor House/Coach House areas, we are not sure whether these were the same birds or not. 

Sadly we found a dead Swift in the road which was probably a casualty from passing traffic.  It was found almost opposite the Royal "Cottage" front left hand side elevation. 

We spent most of the time watching the Coach House whilst trying to combine the watch across to the Manor House. We did notice a couple of birds leaving the Manor House gable corner nestsite which is used annually.  

Another bird was seen to leave the gable area of the Coach House although we could not establish from just were it had came from.  But a little later we were to experience a great sighting with two separate birds coming in (almost at the same time) to two NEW sites along the gable eave areas which we had not so far recorded this year.

It was great to hear from Ed Duckett who has kindly kept a eye on the Swifts down at Clawthorpe Hall and informs us that he has been fortunate to record a definite 3 nest to the rear of Lowther House with a possibility of another one over Campbell Cottage. He has noted at least 6 birds in the skies at any one time. 

Nest sites recorded on Lowther Hse, Clawthorpe Hall 

We finished the watch at 2100hrs approx. Tonight's observers included: Reg Hesketh, Branwen Kilburn, Angela Sumner and Bryan Yorke.

Nest sites occupied so far this year = (26) 

Post Office Buildings (1)
Cocking Yard (5) maxed
Royal Cottage rear (4) maxed
Royal Cottage front (5) out of 7
Coach House gable and rear (4) 
Manor House gable, front and annexe (4) out of 6

Clawthorpe Hall Offices and Lowther House (3) 

Historic final end of season counts were as follows:
2018 = 25 sites
2017 = 22 sites
2016 = 23 sites

2015 = 20 sites

The next Swift watch will be next Thursday 25th July 2019 (this will probably be the next to the last watch) - Meeting at the Memorial Hall at 2000hrs - Everyone Welcome  

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Burton Swifts - Thursday 11th July 2019 week



We met at the Memorial Hall at 2000hrs and watched the Swifts circling and chasing. The highest count was 12 birds.  We started watching at Cocking Yard and told by the resident of Riggs House that he not only had the (already recorded) nest on the front, but that also the one on the rear of his house was being used again, it lies about 1/2 way along the eaves line, so this was such good news and confirmed yet another nest site was being used this year.

A bird was seen by Sue to enter the front of the Royal Cottage, in the small hole site to the LH side, part way down the wall.

We moved on to the Coaching House where we have been desperate to get some results, well perseverance did pay off! we did part see a bird leave a nest site but could not determine the actual spot.  But a little later we did see a bird leave a old established site to the left hand of the small port hole.  So this now has confirmed at least one site on the Coach House.   We also counted at least 7 birds in the skies above the Manor House, but we cannot tell whether there will be overlap with the birds above the Memorial Hall.

Tonight's observers included: Reg Hesketh, Hugh and Sue Miles and Bryan Yorke.

Nest sites occupied so far this year = (20) plus probable 2 at Clawthorpe. 

Post Office Buildings (1)
Cocking Yard (5) maxed
Royal Cottage rear (4) maxed
Royal Cottage front (5) out of 7
Coach House gable and rear (1) out of 4
Manor House gable, front and annexe (4) out of 6

Clawthorpe Hall Offices (?) seen 3 birds in skies overhead

Historic final end of season counts were as follows:
2018 = 25 sites
2017 = 22 sites
2016 = 23 sites
2015 = 20 sites

The next Swift watch will be next Thursday 18th July 2019  - Meeting at the Memorial Hall at 2000hrs - Everyone Welcome  

Friday, 5 July 2019

Burton Swifts - Thursday 4th July 2019 week



We met as usual at the Memorial Hall were we witnessed up to 9 Swifts in the skies, yet throughout our watch there seemed to be little activity.  We did get the impression that perhaps most of the birds had gone further afield to gain necessary amounts of food, this absence of birds (local) seems to becoming more and more regular with each watch. Are there not enough insects around these days?

We checked out Cocking Yard, and the front of the Royal Cottage yet never witnessed any nesting activity, we then moved on towards the Manor House and the Coach House. Whilst there, we did witness up to six birds in the skies, yet we got the impression perhaps they could well have been the same birds we had noticed flying high above the Memorial Hall.  The only nesting activity we "almost" saw, was a bird coming out of the gable end area of the Coach House, although the actual site could not be recorded, the bird came out so fast we all missed the actual exit place. 

Tonights observers were: Reg Hesketh, Branwyn Kilburn, Angela Sumner and Bryan Yorke. 

Nest sites occupied so far this year = (19) plus probable 2 at Clawthorpe. 

Post Office Buildings (1)
Cocking Yard (4) maxed
Royal Cottage rear (4) maxed
Royal Cottage front (5) out of 7
Coach House gable and rear (1?) out of 4
Manor House gable, front and annexe (4) out of 6

Clawthorpe Hall Offices (?) seen 3 birds in skies overhead

Historic final end of season counts were as follows:
2018 = 25 sites
2017 = 22 sites
2016 = 23 sites
2015 = 20 sites

The next Swift watch will be next Thursday 11th July 2019  - Meeting at the Memorial Hall at 2000hrs - Everyone Welcome  

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Burton Swifts - Friday 28th June 2019 week




Front Royal Hotel Cottage elevation (Click over to enlarge)
Shows the nesting site histories including 2019 so far

It's good news!
We are now up to 19 confirmed nest sites already..... 

Historic final end of season counts were as follows:
2018 = 25 sites
2017 = 22 sites
2016 = 23 sites
2015 = 20 sites

We had up to 5 Swifts flying above the Royal, Neddy Hill and the Memorial Hall areas, but by the time we returned at the close of the watch the numbers had swelled to 11 birds in these same areas.

Generally throughout the watch from approx 2000hrs to 2130hrs we had few birds as though the majority had gone away somewhere to feed up or like we have mentioned before they could have been at a height beyond our sight!

The first watch was opposite the Royal Cottage front elevation, where we witnessed one bird on two separate occasions enter and leave the eaves site just over one metre in from the left hand side. This is a very old established site in our records which has been used now from back in 2013,2015,2016,2017,2018 and again this year 2019. Its immediately to the right hand side of a large triangular hole just under the plastic guttering.  Also on our return and passing the Royal we were fortunate to see a bird entering yet another old established site (but new for this year!) which is again in the eaves but this time to the right hand of the cottage and above the left hand side of the right hand window. This site has been recorded in each year since 2014 to the present.  We also had a small party of 3 screaming birds using Main Street at this point which we took to be immature birds which at times let you think they were about to descend into a nest site but at the last minute sort of swerved away and continued with their screaming chasing frolics!

Our last point of call tonight was at the Manor House although we never witnessed any nesting activity, but did see a regular 5 birds in the skies above the Manor House/Coaching House. 

Tonights observers were: Reg Hesketh and Bryan Yorke. 


Nest sites occupied so far this year = (19) plus probable 2 at Clawthorpe. 

Post Office Buildings (1)
Cocking Yard (4) maxed
Royal Cottage rear (4) maxed
Royal Cottage front (5) out of 7
Coach House gable and rear (1?) out of 4
Manor House gable, front and annexe (4) out of 6
Clawthorpe Hall Offices (?) seen 3 birds in skies overhead

Also it's interesting to report good news from Tanya and Edmund up at Sizergh who are also having a good year so far with their Swifts!  and such a interesting report especially in relation to the "banging" activity.......


plenty of swifts

Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:02 am (PDT) . Posted by:

"Tanya Hoare" tanyaedmund




We've had bangers since end of May but today its been Bangers Central here,
lots of them in wonderful sunshine.

All our pairs (18 + 5 in adjacent cottages) have returned this year which
seems to be bucking a trend? (Although in one eaves site, one swift didn't
come back til 23 May and it pulled in a new mate on 2 June. They laid eggs
on 20/22 June which means they'll be staying really late into August.)

Other good news is that we have at least 6 new pairs. Two of these have laid
eggs, again not til between 21 to 26 June so even more swifts will be
staying very late. We've never had this before. We wonder about the future
for these swifts, not just the chicks, but the adults remaining after most
swifts have departed.

But we've had more than the usual number of eggs being knocked out of nests.
This is not just in Stimpson boxes, but also in one of our eaves sites which
is very spacious, which has never happened before. Knocking the eggs out
looks entirely accidental, but who knows? And in one nest they were
deliberately ejected from the box even though we can see no evidence of
fighting. This means that our chick rate will be down this year, we only
have one nest with 3 chicks being reared.

Some other less good news is that a parent disappeared from one
long-standing nest the day the chicks hatched (more of this saga later).
Yes, the weather was bad, but the other swifts seemed to cope all right.

So because of the new pairs, overall this year has been good so far, albeit
with quite a few not-so-good happenings too.

Tanya & Edmund (Cumbria)

The next Swift watch will be next Thursday 4th July 2019  - Meeting at the Memorial Hall at 2000hrs - Everyone Welcome