15 July 2019

| | 2 min read

Community

Wild West End need people to let them know about Swifts and House Martins in the area.

Wild West End need people to let them know about Swifts and House Martins in the area.

Please let Wild West End know where you have seen Swifts flying low over houses or green screeching. This means they are nesting locally, the ones really high in the sky are just travelling though. Swifts are completely black.

Let Wild West End by email wildwestend@greenigwingrove.org.uk or text the project 07410 944713.

The Wild West End project can use this information to do a more in depth survey next year.  This project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

 

 

Swift in flight - large - all dark - plan chin usually  not visible - very fast -screaming calls
Swift in flight - large - all dark

Please let us know where you have seen House Martin nests this year, either ones where they are still nesting or where they have finished nesting for this year. House Martins make nests from mud that stick to the wall just under the eaves of houses.

And please let us know where you have seen Swifts flying low over houses or green spaces screeching. This means they are nesting locally, the ones really high in the sky are just travelling through. Swifts are completely black. Let us know either by email wildwestend@greeningwingrove.org.uk or text the project on 07410 944713.

We can then use this information to do a more in depth survey next year.

Swift Survey Techniques 
 
The best time to survey for Swifts (in the UK) is early to mid-July, when the population is at its biggest, enlarged by juvenile Swifts who fly in to Europe from Africa much later than the adults. 

In other locations, where the dates of Swift presence may be earlier or later than with us, you should survey for your Swifts 4 to 2 weeks before they leave. After that numbers will diminish as they start to migrate South.

Best times - from half an hour before dawn to two hours after, and from two hours before dusk to half an hour after.
Weather - Warm to hot and dry days are best.

What to look for - Swifts flying round and round buildings and along streets at or just above roof top level and below, screaming. The photograph below shows a reasonable flight level for the Swift flocks you should be aiming to count.

Swifts flying at a high level, well above the buildings, may not be local, indeed could be from anywhere and for the purposes of counting local colonies, should be ignored.

Suggested technique: walk slowly round the areas where there are low-flying, screaming Swifts. Count the circling flocks until you have an accurate estimate of birds in flight. 

You will need to do this several times as they are fast flyers and their criss-crossing flightpaths can be very confusing for the observer to disentangle.

Listen as the Swifts pass the buildings for the answering screams of Swifts still in their nests, they will answer the birds screaming as they past by outside. Add those birds you can hear but cannot see to the total number.
You may detect their nests either as the Swifts enter or leave them, and just at dusk and shortly after, when the adults return to spend the night with the chicks.

 Three UK-wide surveys are current: the RSPB’s Swift Inventory, the BTO’s Breeding Bird Survey, and Bird Track. All are “on-line” surveys and can be easily located at:
www.rspb.org.uk/swiftsurvey www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/bbs www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/birdtrack/about

This project is Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

 

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