Thursday 8 September 2022

 We have moved onto Facebook. Please click on this link:

 Burton-in-Kendal Swift Group- Facebook

In memory of Bryan John Yorke (3rd January 1948 - 28th May 2022).

 A hugely knowledgeable but utterly humble man. He loved this area, and enjoyed sharing its natural riches through his informative and delightful blogs. 

They will continue to be available, for reference and discovery.

Thank you, Bryan, for your warmth, wisdom, and wit.

Saturday 11 September 2021

2021 Summary for the Swifts

 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 missing this year) Hangings Farm and Twain Cottage - 2 pairs recorded
3.   Royal Hotel - Cottage - Front Elevation - 3 pairs confirmed
4.   Royal Hotel - Rear Cottage Annexe - 3 pairs confirmed
5.   Royal Hotel - Rear Cottage Annexe return - 1 pair confirmed
6.   Royal Hotel main building rear return - 1 pair
7.   The Coaching House - Gable End (North facing) Nil recorded this year (2021 and the previous year also)
8.   The Manor House - Front of House- 1 pairs confirmed
9.   The Manor House - Front attached low elevation - non recorded this year.
10.   The Manor House - Gable End (North facing) 3 pair confirmed 
11. Lowther House/Clawthorpe Hall - Rear of Lowther - 3 nest confirmed (minimum )

Total nest sites recorded

18 nest sites in total confirmed (which is a decrease of 6 nest compared to 24 back in 2019

Nest sites missing this year - compared to 2019

During 2020 only 8 nest were recorded but this was underecorded because of covid restrictions impacting on monitoring. So comparisons have been made to the next comparable which was 2019.

Riggs House (both front and back sites probaly not used)
Cottage, Royal (front elevation possibly two sites not used)
Coaching House (2 sites used in 2019 but not used in 2020 and again not used in 2021)

Arrival and departure

The first Swift arrived back at 2030hrs on Thursday 2nd May 2021, then 4 on 4th May, 6 on 7th May, 12 on 12th May and 20 on the 13th May. 

The first swifts to leave us was late July and they left in trickles over the next fortnight. The largest concentration seen was 23 on 17th August 2021 (Angela) 

2022 Additional nest site potential

Provision of additional 10 internal nest sites have already been built into the frontage and gable of the new properties recently built behind the Royal Pub. At least 8 of the nest sites were available for the 2021 season although none were used, however one of the sites was canvassed but not used. (other than two sites used by sparrows).

Planning of another 13 nest sites have been included within the planning on new properties to be built behind Boon Town.

A new property is currently being built on Vicarage Lane of which at least one internal nest box will be included. 

Observers over the 12 weeks included: Angela, Branwen, Bryan, Mary, Reg, Branwen, Edward, Hugh and Sue, Jamie, Judith, Katherine, Matthew, Paul.

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

(above)The cottages next to the post office.

(above) Cocking Yard - Shows Hangings Farm, Riggs House and Twain Cottage.

(above) The Cottage - Royal Hotel - Front elevation

(above) The Royal - Cottage rear annexe and return

(above) to the rear of the main building

(above) The Manor House, Front and Gable and annexe elevations.

(above) Lowther House - Clawthorpe Hall - Ducketts

(above) Clawthorpe Hall - Ducketts Offices

(above) Clawthorpe Hall - Ducketts Offices

Potential for 2022

Riggs House, Cocking Yard
(Photo of Riggs see above photo)

(above) The Coaching House

(above) nest x 2 at back of Royal

(above) Nest x6 at back of Royal

New building back of Royal - nest x 2

Sunday 1 August 2021

Burton Swifts - Friday July 30th and the final sightings


4 Swifts above Memorial Hall 0900hrs on 18th August 2021.

23 plus Swifts above Royal and observed for at least two hours yesterday evening (17th August 2021) by Angela.

A single Swift high over Memorial Hall 0900hrs on 16th August 2021

3 birds feeding high over Memorial Hall at 1600hrs on 15th Auguest 2021.

4 birds feeding high above Tanpits at 0930hrs on 15th August 2021.

8 birds still present on Main Street on 5th August 2021.


We met up as usual on Friday last July 30th 2021 at the Burton Memorial Hall.  We went down Main Street checking the usual places.  We had at best about ten Swifts in the skies and got the impression some of our birds may have already left to return to Africa.

We did see activity on the Manor House with a bird enterting the large hole on the Gable End at the front bottom side, in fact the one the Starling sometimes takes on.  Also a Swift was seen coming from behind the Manor House, so whether we have missed a nest site we are not sure.

So it looks like this will be our last meet for the year and I will shortly add any late sightings and give a summary to the nest sites we did manage to see Swifts etc.

Tonights observers included:  Angela, Paul and Mary, Matthew, Bryan

Friday 23 July 2021

Burton Swifts - 23rd July 2021 and week


It was pretty quiet generally, with only 3 Swifts in a single group over the Royal areas, and the odd one or so over the Manor House areas.  I am of the suspicion the birds will be on top of Hutton Roof Common, like they have been most mornings when I have been up. 

We witnessed birds going into nest sites on the gable of the Manor House with one using the nest site to the LH of the gable, whilst another was seen entering the nest site 3/4 way up on the RH side of the gable.

Observers tonight was Mary and Bryan. 

Our next Swift Meeting is next Friday 30th July 2021 at 8pm at the Burton Memorial Hall (everyone welcome). 

Saturday 17 July 2021

Burton Swifts - 16th July 2021 and week

Total nest sites so far this year is now 20

Wednesday 20th July 2021 

Checked out Ducketts offices at Clawthorpe. The sky was full of Martins churping away and lots of Swallows and Swifts. I spoke with Ed who reckons there are about 8 Swifts on site. Whilst there he showed me where they were using and we where lucky enough to see a couple of birds entering their sites. Now marked off in above photos.

Friday 16th July 2021

We checked out the regular haunts starting with Cocking Yard.  Although we had only got a single nest site down for Hangings Farm, I spoke with a resident who always gives us a update on the Swifts and he was able to confirm that there was also another occupied nest site on the opposite side which is Ken's house and called The Twain Cottage and he says it nest about the middle of his property and that this particular site had been used in 2020 and also in 2019, so we will need to update our records with this new information.  Sadly birds are missing from the Riggs House this year (2 sites, 1 front and 1 rear).

Moving on and checking to the rear of the Cottage and no to nest activity was seen but at this point the aerial count had got up to 7 and a later return count from here got up to 20 birds.

A brief check on the front of the Royal Cottage never recorded any activity and so it was off to the Manor House and Coaching House.  Still no signs of birds using the Coaching House, but did get a bird go into the large hole to the right hand side of the gable end (the one that the Starling sometimes occupies). Whilst we were at the Manor we saw up to seven aerial birds.

Total nest sites recorded so far this year 16 (1 additional tonight with Twain Cottage

Tonights observers were Reg and Bryan.

Next weeks meeting should be showing lots of aerial activity because we are getting near the stage were young birds will be taking to the skies, and its around now we get our record counts. 

Our next Swift Meeting is next Friday 23rd July 2021 at 8pm at the Burton Memorial Hall (everyone welcome). 

Sunday 11 July 2021

Burton Swifts - Friday 9th July 2021 and week


Total so far this year 15 nest sites

Manor House gable end - new nest site and first time used (to our knowledge since 2014 

We managed to count at least ten in the sky with a small 3 or 4 in the area of the Manor House. We managed to see a bird entering the front of the old Royal Cottage, this one was to the front right hand side about 2ft away from were the Cottage joins into the main building.  This was another first of the year and tells us there are at least 3 nest sites on the front of the Cottage and another 4 of the back of the Cottage. We then moved on to see how things were at the Manor House/Coaching House. Still no results on the Coaching House, but we did OK on the Manor House. 

We was surprised to see a bird banging and also another leaving a new site on the LH side of the gable end of the Manor House, in fact it was a site which was used back in 2014 but we have not seen any using it until tonight. (see photo above). Also we saw two birds enter the same nest to the LH side of the Manor House front approx 1 metre from the LH corner. 

Tonights observers were: Branwen, Matthew and Bryan.

See full updates below: 

2021 so far we have four sites confirmed on the Manor House

2021 so far we have three sites confirmed on the front of the Royal Cottage

2021 - So far we have a full compliment of 4 nest sites eg: 3 on the back of the rear annexe and one on the return as seen above. 

2021 we have seen activity at this site so presume breeding - to the rear of the Royal Hotel main building. One nest site.

2021 - so far only one confirmed at Hangings Farm within Cocking Yard.
(one nest site)

So far we have one confirmed nest site on the Post Office Buildings.

Also we do have at least one pair confirmed from down at Ducketts although it is thought there could be at least 3 pairs.  (One nest site)


Total so far this year 15 nest sites confirmed against a norm of about 21 sites but there will be more to add before the end of the watches (hopefully!)

Noted losses are: None at Riggs House in Cocking Yard which usually has two or three, also none showing on the Coaching House which usually has between 2-4

Our next Swift Meeting is next Friday 16th July 2021 at 8pm at the Burton Memorial Hall (everyone welcome). 

Saturday 3 July 2021

Burton Swifts - Friday 2nd July 2021 and week

Saturday 3rd July 2021

Just wanted to report seeing a pair of Swifts over Ducketts offices today. I think Ed said there were perhaps 3 pairs on his properties

Friday 2nd July 2021

 It was great tonight we have had some good sightings together with some really great news.  I think it best I give you the good news first!

Whilst doing a tour we managed to bump into Graham Wilson the builder at the Royal.  He tells me that already birds have been seen going into one of the new built purpose made nest sites to the properties on the right as you approach the Bowling Green.  He can't be sure whether they are nesters or just birds prospecting a site for the future, but its great news....... and the great news does not stop there.. He is now not going to be doing any work on the Royal Cottage frontage until well after the birds have left, so now at least the two nest on the front should be OK.  He said whilst up on the scaffold the other day doing the main Royal front gutters, the birds were zooming in and out of their nest without showing any interest to the nearby human activity, so alls well there!!

Now then getting back to the nights other activity.  We started off from the Memorial Hall, briefly calling at Cocking Yard and then to the rear of the Royal. There was definately plenty of collective behaviour with up to 15 birds counted at best, the activity seem to be centred high up and around the Royal, at one stage we had a 8 together screaming party chasing one another. We were also lucky to time it right with birds entering all the rear Cottage annexe sites eg: the 3 on the back and also the site on the small return, so that means all the rear Cottage sites are full up. We did check the front of the Royal but never had any birds enter their sites whilst we were present.  We then progressed to the Manor House which again we could not have timed it better were we had a bird enter the site at the bottom of the Gable End (ex Starling slot), we had another birds enter about one metre across on the frontage and another bird enter the site near the drain pipe.  Whilst watching from there we had a 4 overhead party but still not activity recorded for the Coaching House.

It was a great night and attended by Mary, Sue and Bryan. 

Our next Swift Meeting is next Friday 9th July 2021 at 8pm at the Burton Memorial Hall (everyone welcome). 

Sunday 27 June 2021

Burton Swifts - June 25th 2021 and week


Our next Swift Meeting is next Friday 2nd July 2021 at 8pm at the Burton Memorial Hall (everyone welcome). 

Sunday 20 June 2021

Burton Swifts - Friday 18th June 2021 and week


Approx 2000hrs: Angela, Sue and Mary and Bryan (shortly) met at the Memorial Hall, although we only had about 3 Swifts flying around early on. I left shortly and not sure just how many the others reported, but soon as I hear anything will report it on here.

Sue said they had a Swift enter one of the main holes on the rear of the Cottage annexe and also had one entering the return. It looked like there were a couple of birds flying high above the Manor House.

Reg - did a watch at approx 2100hrs and managed to record at least 12 Swifts flying high.

Our next Swift Meeting is next Friday 25th June 2021 at 8pm at the Burton Memorial Hall. 

Saturday 12 June 2021

Burton Swifts - Friday 11th June 2021 and week


It started off very quiet with only 3 birds seen at best, we called off at each nesting site and the only activity was when Matthew spotted one entering the old established site (eg: white stained large entrance) to the rear of the annexe on the old cottage building (rear).  That means that all the 3 together nest sites here are being used.

We checked the other sites on our way up to the Coaching House/Manor House but very little activity, and on our way back things began to develop with more and more birds being seen and the best numbers we recorded were 11 birds.

We briefly stopped off at the front of the Royal Cottage and here we witnessed two nest sites being used. One was what I had already established back at the beginning of May. The other was further along (see photo above).  Sadly the birds in the second nest were having difficulty entering the nest site because of obstacles having been placed on the scaffolding and partially obstructing their flightlines. The builder has been informed about the obstructions and a copy of the above photo so he knows were the nest are..

So far this season 10 nest sites established (1 added from tonight)          Aerial Birds seen tonight = 11

Observers: Branwyn, Matthew, Reg and Bryan. 

All three on the back wall of the Cottage annexe are being used

Our next Swift Meeting is next Friday 18th June 2021 at 8pm at the Burton Memorial Hall. 

Saturday 5 June 2021

Burton Swifts - Friday 4th June 2021 and week


One of the Swifts flying high above the new Royal development yesterday evening (4th June)
Photo kindly taken and shared by Matthew

Friday 4th June 2021

Our group met up at 2000hrs at the Burton Memorial Hall. 

We did manage a count of up to 14 birds at the best count, although it is suspected that there could well be over 20 birds in the village. So far 9 nest sites established see photographs below showing which sites.

One Swift was seen to come out of the eaves of the small cottage on the Post Office Row, this had not been recorded previous.

We then went on to Cocking Yard and we did not see any birds local although there were one or two flying high above the Yard.  Jane confirms that they are breeding again on Hangings Farm.  We did also see the resident of Riggs who says he has not seen any birds on his property this year whereby last year he did have two breeding pairs.  He wondered if building is new extension on the back may have frightened them off.  I very much doubt that because he had the extension done whilst the birds were away. 

We then went over to the back of the Royal and managed to see one go into the larger top hole on the annexe building, again this is the first time we have seen this being used this year.  Lots of ariel activity with chasing parties and screaming. None as yet seen using the new purpose build sites. 

We spent some time checking out the front of the Royal, and did not have any going into the Cottage although we did see some making to the scaffold and then veering away at the last minute.

One really interesting observation which we have never recorded before, was that one swift came round and started banging just above were Mary was standing, it then veered off and would come around again and again doing the same at times with other Swifts present. In fact it got so close to Mary's head it became a little scary for her.  I guess now thinking about it may well have been attempting to drive us off (which it succeeded in doing).  If that was the case why? it may suggest that the bird is already nesting in the front of the Royal Cottage and we were putting it's approach to entry of it's nest site! I guess time will tell. But so interesting!!

We finished off at the Coaching House and Manor House, but we had no birds going into the nest sites although there were six birds overhead and quite a bit of noise generated.  At one stage we could hear swift noises as though they were coming from somewhere on the gable end of the Manor House, but we could not see anything.

Observers: Judith, Katherine, Mary, Matthew, Bryan. 

Our next Swift Meeting is next Friday 11th June 2021 at 8pm at the Burton Memorial Hall. 

Another great Swift photo taken by Matthew 

So far this year nesting is taking place at the following places:

Post Office Buildings

Royal - Rear annexe to cottage

Royal - Main Building - return to back top corner

Royal "Cottage" front

Manor House

Saturday 29 May 2021

Burton Swifts - Friday 28th May and week

Shows the nesting history on the Manor House as at 28th May 2021
(Click over to enlarge)

This photo shows the confirmed nest sites from tonight in Red whilst it also shows a "expected but not as yet confirmed" in yellow. 
(Click over to enlarge)

Friday 28th May and week

We met for the first time what seemed ages. The Swifts seemed happy in the skies above, occasionally we would see small screaming parties on the chase.

We checked out the Post Office building but never saw any Swifts going into the old established nest site, but what we did see was quite unbelievable with two Jackdaws at the same time going into the nest site which the Swifts normally use. That hole must be big!

We stood at the bottom of Cocking Yard and as soon as we arrived a pair of Swifts came hurstling down the yard with haste, it was obvious there was plenty of activity. Jane has already been able to confirm nesting taking place again at the Hangings Farm site and that will make it every year since 2013 to our knowledge. 

We left there and stood to the rear of the Royal and close to the new development. Lots of aerial activity, but high and although the Swifts dipped down and approached nest sites they never took any up whilst we were watching. It is thought that at least 3 nest are being used on the rear of the Royal. One on the annexe, one on the return of the annexe and one on the main Royal building to the far left hand side.  We are not aware of any of the new sites having been taken up as yet. 

We stood for a short time to the front of the Royal Cottage and although there were birds low and noisy but seemed to turn away at the moment of reaching the scaffold.  We did not see any enter the sites.  Although one was recorded going into the front of the Royal cottage before they put the scaffold up. 

Last check of the evening was looking over to the Coaching House and the Manor House. We saw no activity on the Coaching House, but lots of activity on the Manor House. A bird was seen entering a long established nest site on the gable end at about 3/4 way up on the front side.  Also another was seen to enter and leave at the large hole on the gable to the bottom front corner (the one the Starling normally defends), Also we had another one confirmed on the front of the Manor House to the immediate left hand of the drainpipe on the front elevation. Plus lots of false attempts were made to the annexe building about one foot away at the gutter level from were it joins to the main building, we do think that nesting could well be going on here. Also lots of "banging" going on and we do think that this could have involved several maybe immature birds.

The main count of seeing birds together would be 11 has seen whilst we were at the Royal, but its more than probable that we do have about 20 birds presently in the skies over Burton. There seemed to be about 6 birds clinging to the Manor House areas, 11 over the Royal areas as best we could count.

Present: Branwyn, Hugh and Sue, Mary, Bryan. 

Our next meeting will be on Friday next 4th June 2021 at the Memorial Hall meeting up at 8pm. Everyone welcome.

Saturday 22 May 2021

FRIDAY 21ST MAY 2021 WEEK - Our Burton Swifts activity....


Our Swifts are back!!

The Swift group are meeting up on this coming Friday 28th May at the Memorial Hall at 8pm, please feel free to attend.

Monday 17 May 2021

Friday 14th May Week - Our Burton Swifts Activity


Monday 17th May 2021

0900hrs - 20 mins at least 6 Swifts flying low over the building site at the back of the Royal and looked to be enjoying themselves screaming away has they chased one another. 

Friday May 14th 2021

2000hrs for just 20 mins - 1 bird seen flying high over Kings.

1500hrs approx it was noticed that building scaffold has now been erected to the front of the Cottage and the Chimney stack.

Friday 7 May 2021

Friday May 7th 2021 Week (Swifts arrival day)

Wednesday May 12th 2021

2030hrs for just 20 mins - 4 birds around the Kings/Boon Town/Manor.  One bird to make a false attempt at front of Royal Cottage then a few seconds later made another attempt and bird was successful and still in their 5 minutes at least (see photo above)

Tuesday May 11th 2021

2030hrs for 20mins just 3 birds flying between Memorial Hall and Kings areas.

Monday May 10th 2021

2000hrs for 30 minutes nothing showing over village tonight.

Sunday May 9th 2021

1930hrs Watching 4 birds circling mainly above the Royal Hotel. One bird to be seen entering one of the old established sites on the rear of the main building. (see photo above)

Saturday May 8th 2021

At first I only had 3 but after half hour the numbers had increased to seven birds seen high above Neddy Hill and the Memorial Hall.  Lovely to see other Swift watchers out and about including May, B and Jamie and Edward. 

Friday May 7th 2021

The first three Swifts have arrived when checked out at 1930hrs (Friday 7th May 2021) and were enjoying the skies over the Royal towards the Kings.

Even better one of the Swifts went into it's established nest sites to the rear of the Cottage annexe on the Royal (see photo above) 


Tuesday 9 March 2021

Showing Dalton houses - Oakwood Homes which are the New Builds at the rear of the old Royal Hotel and built by our own local builder Graham Wilson

Updates: 23rd March 2021

Now been informed of even more good news in regards to planning and Swifts etc at Burton. Plans SL/2019/0359 - New builds North of Boon Town, Burton.  Condition 11 within the planning permission stipulates "that two swift bricks" on each of the 18 properties.

Also: New developments up on Vicarage Lane will also have Swift bricks incorporated within the newbuilds


Dalton Houses - Oakwood Homes - Royal Hotel development

We are indebted to the fabulous work carried out by our local Burton builder Graham Wilson, who is well on the way with his latest building project.  Already completed are the first of the Dalton Houses which are part of the Oakwood Homes project.  You can see two of the properties in the photos below.  But what is so special for us is that Graham has been prepared to listen and act on our calls asking him if he was prepared to consider placing Swift homes within the new project and sure enough he has been kind enough put two sites in the front of the buildings and six in the gable end (as shown in the photos below).  There are already lots of Swifts well established in the close area from the old Royal Hotel which Graham is also developing, so it is now hoped that the birds will also take on the additional nesting sites. On behalf of all the Swift lovers a great big thank you...

(above and below) Shows two of the newbuild houses which have 8 Swift nest sites built internal with 2 on the front and shown by the red arrows and a further six nest sites built within the gable end and again shown with red arrows in the next photo. 

(above) shows another four newbuild house during midway through the build

(above) Shows the two finished houses to the left and the half built houses to the right taking a delivery of ready mixed concrete. Also shows some of the plant and pile of building stone.

(Below) we have now been given some really great photos by Graham Wilson the builder (taken by Howard) and these show several views of the internal construction of the Swift nest sites.

Photo 1: This photo shows the nest bed with the timber nest hole template just sticking out, this was removed once the cement was set and later the slate roof would be applied to enclose the nest site. (see the finished nest site on the 3rd photo down. 

Photo 2 (above) This is yet another photo which shows the actual nest base within the cavity, the entrance is about 6" below this flat stone. This as you see it here was later slated over to form the roof of the nest enclosure. (see next photo)

Photo 3 (above) this photo shows the nest site on completion with the roof of the nest site formed with a slate across the top.  If you look 6" below you see the "wooden template" inserted to form the entrance hole. This template is then removed once the cement has set and the final pointing has been applied. 

And now below we have another construction of a further nest site

Photo 4 (above) This is now another nest site at the other end of the building and here you see the floor and sides have been made and it awaits the stone slab which will go over the top and form the roof. This is seen in the lower photos. 

Photo 5 - This photo again shows the floor and sides, but also shows the template inserted and cement and stones are then encased and the wood template is eventually removed once all cements are set and the final pointing to the face has been completed.

Photo 6 - Shows the nest site fully formed with the roof laid.  Once the final pointing has been applied the timber entrance hole template will be removed.

Photo 7 - Another photo which again shows the nest site fully formed with the roof laid.  Once the final pointing has been applied the timber entrance hole template will be removed.

Photo 8 - This is a final photo showing the entrance hole to the nest with the template now removed.