Apus apus (Common swift) - Diary 2018

My notes on the activity of swifts at my house in 2018...

See the main page for notes, photos, and diaries for other years.

2018 Swift diary...

The numbered nestboxes can be seen on this photo, and the entrances to the internal boxes on the gable end in this photo.

Activity in inspected boxes 2018 (prediction in red italic; '≤' 'less-than-or-equal' or '≥' 'greater than or equal' date could be earlier/later). See all years here.
2018#2??≤Jun-29?-Jul-17Aug-24--2nd egg not in nest, replaced, but didn't hatch.
2018#4May-18May-23May-31Jun-2Jun-4Jun-20Jul-30Jul-31-2 chicks. One egg didn't hatch.
2018#g1??≥Jun-3≤Jun-7?≤Jun-29Aug-4/7Aug-4/7Aug-4/73 chicks seen Jun-29, one newly hatched, others larger.
2018#g4??≥Jun-16≤Jun-23-Jul-5/12Aug-20--Jul-4, now only one egg. Chick first seen Jul-12.
2018#g6?≤May-14≥May-25≤May-29-Jun-15/17Jul-24Jul-25-May-24, one damaged egg, not in nest. 2 chicks first seen Jun-23.
2018#sb2?≤May-28Jun-4Jun-6-Jun-25?Aug-3Aug-3-'Starling' box. Chicks first seen Jul-1.

2018-August-25 To summarise the 2018 season: 8 swift nests with a reasonable level of recording (camera or otherwise, shown above) fledged 16 chicks. Two more nests with minimal recording (#3 and #5) fledged another 6. And 3 nests with no recording (#w1r, #w2r, and #b2) had young which presumably fledged.

2018-August-24 The last swift chick in my colony (for 2018) fledged from nestbox #2 at 20:39. For a few days, only one adult bird was feeding it, then 2 days ago, the adult left, not to return, so the chick was alone for 2 days. It's still 4 days before I'd predicted fledging, so I'm glad to see it go (captured on the outside camera), otherwise I'd have been wondering if it needed help (i.e. feeding). While the adults usually stay until the young fledge, it's not unusual for them to leave before - maybe the chick was refusing food, as I read that they might do in the last few days before fledging. See the "How old is your swift?" link on this page from Swift Conservation in Ireland, showing how a young swift might reach its 'flying weight' at only 16 days old, then getting even heavier, but declining again to fledge at around 42 days.

2018-August-20 As it got dark, and it became evident that no adult swifts were going to return to nest #g4 tonight, the single young swift departed at 20:53 (seen on outside video camera). Just a single chick left now, in box #2.

2018-August-19 The young swift in nestbox #g4 hasn't fledged yet, but there's only been one adult present for the last two nights. Hardly a problem - the young one could probably fledge if it decided to, and feeding just one chick can't be difficult, when a pair could be feeding 3 chicks.

2018-August-16 About time for an update, as it's getting towards the time when the single swift chick in box #g4 should fledge. I don't know exactly when the egg hatched, hence the uncertainty. I've moved one of the cameras to the box (though not on the web for public viewing), so I'll be able to tell when the chick fledges. It's raining today, and even the adults haven't gone outside at all (by 11:30).

And what's going to be the final chick of the year, in box #2, is still growing well.

2018-August-7 Just checked box #g1, and it's empty. I'd predicted that the 3 chicks would fledge tomorrow, but they've gone between evening 3 days ago and this morning.

2018-August-4 This morning, I moved the outside camera to monitor 'starling' box #sb2, in which there were still 2 young swifts yesterday morning. On checking motion-capture video in the late afternoon, there were no visits by swifts to the box, so I looked inside, and the nest was empty, so they must have fledged yesterday or this morning before the camera was in place. I never heard 'wing-flapping' exercises from the young, and never saw them looking out of the hole, but it appears that they've got away, just 2 or 3 days before my approximate predicted day (from the time of egg-laying). There were a couple of brief visits to the box by a starling this morning, but it must have been empty by then.

2018-August-3 I checked nestbox #3 this morning, assuming it would be empty and that I'd missed the fledging of the last chick, but no, it's still there. I had seen a swift leave at 06:48 this morning, but that was an adult. I didn't spot the adults visiting at all during the day, and the last chick finally fledged at 21:15.

There was only one adult present in the 3 internal-camera boxes last night, and none tonight, so they've all left at about the same time whether their young fledged 10 days ago or in the last few days.

The 'starling-box' swifts are the next predicted to fledge - I checked on them, and the 2 chicks are looking fine.

2018-August-2 The 2nd swift chick in box #3 fledged at 20:46 last night (so not yet dark, for once!). I was watching from the garden, and the outside camera caught it on video as well. I've not often seen one fledge with my own eyes, but the flight was slow, with wing flapping, and fairly horizontal, just as seen on camera. An adult would usually dive nearer the ground, gaining speed, but obviously needs ability to miss obstacles (and maybe know from experience where they are). I assume that the 3rd chick in #3 is still there, as I haven't seen it leave on the outside camera. If I don't see it looking out of the box today, then perhaps I'll have a check inside.

Despite it being only one day after their last chick fledged, only one adult returned to box #4 at dusk last night, and it left again, in darkness, at 23:46 - perhaps the first time I've seen one fly off in the middle of the night.

2018-August-1 Although it's not one of my closely-monitored boxes (so not in the table above), last night the outside camera captured a swift fledging from box #3 at 21:11 (typical flight, with more flapping than an adult, and not losing so much height). Looking in the box at 10:00 today, there are still 2 chicks left of the 3.

2018-July-31 In nestbox #4, the first chick fledged yesterday evening at 21:41 and the second this evening at 21:26. Of fledgings I have managed to observe this season, 5 have been in near darkness, between 21:26 and 21:56 - the other two were in the morning at 07:31 and 07:47.

2018-July-26 This evening, I've seen the pairs of adult swifts return to boxes #1 and #g3 where the young fledged a few days ago. I wasn't sure last night whether it was both birds or just one, as the camera doesn't cover the whole box. I've moved the outside camera to watch box #4, as that's the next one (at least of those known with reasonable accuracy) where the young are due to fledge.

2018-July-25 At around 11:55 this morning, I heard a noise outside - a young swift had landed on the ground just outside the door. I was going to catch it, and put it in a cardboard box, while trying to work out which nest it came from, and possibly replace it. But the swift had other ideas, and crawled away from me, then managed to take to the air, and just about clear the back garden fence. The trees and hedge stopped me from seeing if it continued flying, but I can't see or hear it crawling around at the bottom of the garden, or next door, so who knows - perhaps it made it, despite looking a little young. Perhaps I should be more confident, as taking off from the ground and gaining height is surely a sign that it could fly, and just 'messed up' with its earlier attempt. And I still don't know which nest it came from - both young swifts are still there in #4; in #sb2 they're too young and still there; the birds had already gone from #g6. I think that soffit-spaces #w1r is the most likely, as (with hindsight) there were yound swifts still looking out of #w2r and #b2 a week after this. Of course, perhaps it wasn't from any of my nests.

On checking the gable boxes at 12:15, I found the nest in #g6 empty (I'd predicted fledging in another 2 to 4 days). Looking at video from the outside camera, one swift fledged from #g6 at 21:56 last night, essentially in darkness, and the second at 07:47 this morning. All other chicks present as expected.

This morning, the outside camera captured a swift entering gable box #g5 (so far unused), and stay for 2 minutes. This was a 'confident' entry, and I think was most likely a 'mistake' by a bird aiming for the adjacent #g4 or #g6. In view of the young having fledged from #g6, maybe it was one of the adults from there 'looking for them'?

2018-July-24 The 3 chicks in nestbox #g3 have fledged. All 3 were last seen for certain 3 days ago. Last night, one was spotted leaving at 21:54, and only what I believe were the two adults spent the night. The other 2 must have fledged earlier.

Having last looked 12 days ago, I again checked non-camera boxes #3 and #5. In #3, the 3 chicks are well-grown, but I'd say have at least a week to go. In #5, the nest is empty, so the 3 chicks have gone (they were larger than those in #3 12 days ago).

Young swifts are still present in soffit-spaces #w1r and #w2r, sometimes looking out, and with droppings below the entrance. There's at least one young swift looking out of 'brick-size' box #b2.

The two swift chicks in 'starling' box #sb2 are looking good. Wings about as long as tail, with 2 more weeks before they're predicted to fledge.

To summarise, 8 of 22 chicks in 10 inspected nests have now fledged, birds are still present in 3 un-inspected nests.

2018-July-23 One of the chicks in nestbox #1 fledged at 21:45 last night, and the other at 07:31 this morning. I was lucky to catch both leaving on the outside camera. I've now moved the outside camera to watch #g3, which are due to fledge - at least 2 of the 3 are still there.

2018-July-22 I've just checked on the 3 non-camera nests in the gable. In #g1, one chick still seems smaller than the other two (though it was facing the other way, which might have deceived me). In #g4 the single chick still small and downy. And in #g6, the 2 chicks have wing feathers approximately the same length as the tail - always a sign that not too long before fledging (predicted in another 5-7 days).

In #g2, there are a few white feathers stuck on the concave - looks like the work of a swift, but they might have been there before. And in #g4, there's just some grass left by a sparrow, though maybe a swift-dropping? Perhaps I should check at night, when any swifts would be 'at home'.

2018-July-21 No chicks have fledged yet from the boxes monitored by cameras, but it's the predicted fledging day for box #1, and tomorrow for #g3. I've moved the outside camera to monitor #1, so I might catch any fledging. The chicks there are doing some 'flapping' and looking outside, but maybe not as much as sometimes in previous years? It's not impossible that some chicks have fledged from nests without cameras. It's been relentless hot weather with no rain during the 6 weeks chicks have spent growing up to now, if that makes any difference to their development.

In box #2, the 4 day-old chick has grown, and the other egg (probably the one that spent several weeks not in the nest) hasn't hatched.

2018-July-17 One egg newly hatched in box #2 (hadn't hatched yesterday). There's no way to tell whether it's the egg which has always been in the nest, or the one I found elsewhere in the box 5 days ago, and replaced. The 2nd egg is still there.

2018-July-12 Saw the single chick in nestbox #g4. Only a glimpse, with a sitting adult, but it looked rather pink and naked, so perhaps hatching was nearer today than the earliest possible date about a week ago.

I looked in non-camera boxes #3 and #5. In #3 there are 3 chicks, well-feathered, but still quite small. In #5, there are also 3 chicks, larger than in #3, and sometimes looking out of the entrance.

In box #2, I spotted an egg not in the concave. I placed it in the concave with the other egg - if the adults had removed it intentionally, they can do so again. I first saw an egg here on 29-Jun, not there a few days before, and never saw two eggs in the concave. We'll have to wait to see if and when any of these hatch.

Just adding up, for 13 known swift nests at the house, there are 22 chicks, 2 eggs, and 3 nests which I can't examine.

2018-July-11 A photo of the two swift chicks in the 'starling' box:

Swift chicks in 'starling' box #sb2
Two swift chicks in 'starling' box #sb2, about 16 days old. At the bottom of the box, there is the starling nest (used earlier in 2018), with a few feathers added by the swifts. The 'front' of the box is at lower-right in the photo. The top of the piece of 'rough wood' is visible, attached from the floor to just below the entrance hole, to help the swifts get a grip to climb.

2018-July-4 In box #2, there is just 1 egg (adult swift present, but not incubating it - the weather has been so hot). It's too late to expect any more eggs in the clutch. Another inspection of gable boxes: Continuing progress in 4 out of the 6 boxes. There is now only 1 egg in #g4 (I saw 2 on June-23). In #g1, the 3 chicks are growing - one is still much smaller than the other 2, but it's 5 days since I saw it (looking fairly 'newly-hatched') so I guess it's doing fine. The two larger ones look similar to 11 day old chicks pictured in my 2017 swift diary (and it's feasible from the egg-dates that they are 11 days old). Here's a photo:

3 swift chicks in box #g1
3 swift chicks in box #g1. A bit difficult to tell what you're looking at: there's one pointing right, with head at far right half-hidden by the wood; the small naked one is in the middle, head pointing left; and the 3rd one is pointing away from us, with one of its wings at far left.

2018-July-1 I spotted both adults swifts leave 'starling' box #sb2 at 09:30, so took the opportunity to inspect the nest. As expected, 2 chicks present, compatible with having hatched around 6 days ago as predicted.

Swift leaving 'starling' box #sb2
Here is a picture of an adult swift leaving 'starling' box #sb2.

This is a purpose-built nesting box for starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), and has been used by starlings each year since I put it up.

It wouldn't normally be considered satisfactory for swifts: it has a circular hole 45mm in diameter; a floor area of 13x15cm; and from the bottom of the hole to the floor of the box is 23cm, reduced by around 5cm by the old starling nest in the bottom; and it's only about 3.5 metres above the ground, with a fairly obstruced flight-path. Some rough wood is fixed to the inside front, from the floor to the hole, to help swifts climb (I think one got stuck in here a few years ago - I 'rescued' it).

As I've written elsewhere, swifts 'claimed' this box late in the 2017 season. Over winter, I moved it lower down for the starlings to use (which they did). In time for the arrival of the swifts, I put a new 'starling' box in the original (higher) place. Initially the swifts were going in and out of the new box, but not long after the starlings left, they moved over to the original (lower) box.

At least in this case, there hasn't been the usual conflict between starlings and swifts. The starling brood fledges not long after swifts arrive in the UK to breed. For a while after the swifts moved in, a starling would sometimes cling on to the entrance, and maybe it went inside once, soon leaving again. By the end of June, the starling was showing no further interest. Starlings do sometimes have a second brood, which conflicts far more with swift breeding, but there were no second starling-broods in any of my 3 starling nestboxes in 2018.

2018-June-29 I inspected the gable-end nestboxes. I expected the chicks in #g1 to have hatched, but was surprised to see 3, of distinctly different sizes, one fairly newly hatched. Although I'd only seen 2 eggs, the timing of my observations allows for a 3rd, laid a day or two after I saw the 2 eggs. Nothing unexpected in the other gable boxes, and no evidence of activity in #g2 or #g5. I am unable to say whether the swifts in #g4 added to their 2 eggs, as the sitting adult obstructed the view.

I looked inside nestbox #2 - there was 1 egg (there wasn't a few days ago). It appears that a new pair has established themselves here in mid-June. Presumably one or both of the regular pair from previous years was lost.

2018-June-26 I guess that the 3rd egg in nestbox #4 isn't going to hatch. It's now 3 days beyond the original prediction, and 5 or 6 days since the other two hatched.

2018-June-23 I just checked the gable-end boxes from the loft. See the the table of dates above. Changes since last time are a new nest with 2 eggs in #g4 (a friend saw a swift enter here 2 days ago), and (as expected by now) the 2 viable eggs in #g6 have hatched (probably some days ago).

While in the loft, I saw a swift (from soffit-access nest #w1r) sitting on the 'wall-plate' (i.e. the wooden beam on top of the wall). I thought maybe that is where its nest is, but looking again later, the bird has moved, and there was nothing there, so the nest must be in the boxed-in soffit as I'd assumed before.

With the new nest in #g4, that makes 7 where I know that breeding is taking place, and 6 where it probably is, but I can't check (or haven't checked).

2018-June-22 Having just seen both adult swifts leave 'starling' nestbox #sb2, I took the opportunity to look inside - still 2 eggs (hatching predicted in 3 days time).

In nestbox #4, it still looks like 2 chicks and 1 egg by the end of the day. I feel that hatching is more spread out over days this year, while in previous years, the eggs hatched almost simultaneously, which is why I only record a single hatching date in the table of dates.

2018-June-21 I saw a 2nd hatched chick in nestbox #4, and the remaining egg.

2018-June-20 At 07:35, I observed the first hatched chick in nestbox #4, with two more eggs still to hatch. This hatching was 3 days earlier than my prediction, based on 19 days from the last egg - perhaps I should check whether counting from e.g. the first egg would give more consistency.

2018-June-15 I took a look inside the gable-end nestboxes (except #g3, which has a camera). Nothing unexpected: an adult swift sitting tightly in #g1 and #g6, presumably on their eggs. The eggs in #g6 are predicted to hatch today, or the next two days. As when I've examined a nest with a sitting swift before, they don't seem to move or notice - are they even asleep? In this case, I'm opening the back of the box from a dark loft-space, so maybe not much for the bird to notice. Maybe some signs that birds have visited the other 3 boxes - a few droppings, and a feather.

Swifts seem to have resumed entering nestbox #2, which was used for breeding in the last few years, but not so far this year.

2018-June-12 The third egg in nestbox #g3 hatched this morning.

2018-June-11 The second egg in nestbox #g3 hatched this morning - still one more unhatched egg.

2018-June-10 The first egg in nestbox #g3 hatched this morning (2 days earlier than I had predicted). I spotted the second chick in nestbox #1 in the afternoon.

2018-June-9 Still 2 swift eggs in 'starling' box #sb2 this afternoon, so given that it is 3 days since the 2nd egg (and eggs usually laid in the morning, 2 or 3 days apart), we may be fairly confident that the clutch is going to remain at 2.

At least one of the two eggs in nestbox #1 has hatched. I managed to see one chick being fed, but as usual it is difficult as the adults are nearly always in the way of the view.

2018-June-7 Yesterday, Dick Newell, who is going to be giving a talk at the 'Swift Awareness Week' event here, visited, and saw a swift enter gable-end entrance #g1, followed by 'duetting' (i.e. another swift was already inside). Today I looked inside the box - there was an adult swift (fortunately not on the nest, so I could see), and 2 eggs, so that's a new established pair that I didn't know about. There were no eggs there on 2018-Jun-2, so these eggs have been laid since then. Nothing unexpected in the other gable-end boxes, i.e. 3 out of 6 have swifts with eggs.

2018-June-6 Another look inside 'starling' box #sb2 this afternoon. There are 2 swift eggs. Given that there were no eggs in the afternoon 3 days ago, we may be confident that these were laid on 2018-Jun-4 and 2018-Jun-6. Now the wait of 2 or 3 days to see whether there is a 3rd egg.

2018-June-4 There is a 3rd egg in nestbox #4, only noticed at 21:01 on recorded video. I expect it was laid this morning (eggs always appear to be produced in the morning), but I can no longer face looking through lots of motion-detected video to determine the moment. On the videos I did look at, mainly the 'audio-triggered' ones since they're less frequent and more likely to be moments of interest, I finally spotted one with the birds not in the way, in this case a change-over between the adults incubating the eggs.

2018-June-3 I looked inside 'starling' box #sb2, which are pair of swifts are using. No eggs yet, but the pair of swifts are returning at night, and sometimes at other times of day. The old starling nest-cup in the bottom looks very suitable, and the swifts haven't noticeably added any new material yet. The pair of swifts in #4 are still leaving their 2 eggs unattended for long periods, so I'd guess a 3rd egg tomorrow or the day after.

2018-June-2 A second egg was laid in nestbox #4 this morning. Examination of the gable-end boxes from the loft showed that the clutch in #g6 is 2 eggs, so no third egg (unless one counts with first, damaged, one, which isn't in the nest). There was a swift in #g4 - they've shown interest in this one before, but not bred in it so far.

2018-May-31 Last night was a good chance for me to watch swifts at the back of the house. It showed what I essentially knew already: swifts in (left to right) #1, #w1r, #3,#4, #5, #b2, #w2r, #sb2, which together with #g3 and #g6 at the gable means 10 pairs (became 13 later in the season). 10 is an increase of 2 from last year's 8, the changes being #3 instead of #2, and the addition of swifts in the somewhat experimental #b2 (very small), and #sb2 ('wrong' type of box). There are still soffit-spaces at top-left of the two windows (they seem to prefer the ones at the right for some reason), and 4 more gable-end boxes, so plenty room for the prospecting birds later in the season.

It soon became evident that today was probably '1st egg day' for the pair of swifts in #4, as they both stayed in the nestbox in the morning. At 12:38, I got my first sighting of the egg - probably just laid, as they both left soon afterwards. Eggs are usually produced earlier in the morning than this.

2018-May-29 I just examined all the gable-end boxes from inside the loft-space (except #g3, which of course has a camera). The only activity apart from in #g3 is 2 eggs in the nest in #g6 (and the 3rd egg which I saw on 2018-May-24, not in the nest, and with a small hole, is still there). I will check, after a suitable interval, in case a 3rd viable egg is laid in #g6.

2018-May-28 I happened to see swifts going in and out of another starling-box (#sb2), and as it's in the field of view of the camera looking at #sb4, I'm now recording when motion is detected there as well. This shows swifts going in and out of both of them, probably the same birds. Box #sb2 is in fact the box 'claimed' by non-breeding swifts late last season, but I moved it lower down on the wall, and it was only vacated by starlings 4 days ago, after raising two chicks. It's only 3.5 metres above ground, and swifts leaving have to turn immediately right as all other directions are obstructed unless they gain height.

2018-May-27 Now with the outside camera aimed at the 'starling-box', in just 2 hours this morning, I detected 8 instances of a swift, or sometimes a pair, going in and out. I think I'll call this box #sb4 (I have 3 other starling boxes, so far without swifts in them!).

In the afternoon, I spotted a swift-egg apparently wedged in a gap at the entrance to soffit-space #w2r. Who knows? An old egg from last year; an egg the swifts tried to throw out; or a new egg displaced by accident? Given that the entrance is easily accessible from the upstairs window, I replaced the egg just inside the entrance. I don't actually know where the nest is relative to the entrance, but the swifts can do as they please with the egg...

2018-May-26 Last night's (and this morning's) monitoring of some nestboxes/spaces with the outside camera detected nothing at #2, one entry into #w1r, and pairs in #3 and #5. There was lots of annoying (i.e. triggering the camera) activity by collared doves!

Very different incubating-styles in #1 and #g3. In #1, you almost never see the eggs - always a bird in the way; whereas in #g3, the eggs are often left unattended for periods.

2018-May-25 Finally a sighting on the video of 2 eggs in nestbox #1, so there wasn't a 3rd egg, and I've entered the predicted dates for hatching and fledging. I've got the outside camera watching some of the boxes tonight, so we'll see whether it shows anything I don't know already about what's going on in boxes without a camera inside.

2018-May-24 After a few excursions out this morning, it was still before 09:00 when the swift in nestbox #4 was joined by a second again.

The pair in nestbox #g3 produced their 3rd egg this morning. I await a clear view in nestbox #1, as today is the likely last day for a 3rd egg if there is going to be one.

I just examined all the gable-end boxes from inside the loft-space (except #g3, which of course has a camera). Birds have been seen going in and out of most of them (outside camera). The only one with signs of activity was #g6, where there was a single swift egg, not in the nest-concave, and with a small hole at the air-sac end - I left it there.

2018-May-23 At 18:30, a 2nd swift joined the one already there in nestbox #4 - some agression for a minute or two, but the pair quickly settled down. I can't be sure which bird (if either) has been around here for a few days. A single bird visited this afternoon, and seemed less sure of the surroundings, so perhaps was the 'new' arrival. Only one of them stayed overnight - maybe the 'new' one hadn't learned the entrance well enough yet to find when it is nearly dark.

2018-May-22 A second egg was laid in nestbox #g3 this morning, also perhaps longer/thinner than 'normal', but not to the same extent as the first egg. The single swift (of course not certain the same one) is back in nestbox #4.

2018-May-21 As expected, a second egg was laid in nestbox #1. The single swift in nestbox #4 didn't stay overnight.

2018-May-20 A first egg was laid in nestbox #g3 this morning (it looks longer/thinner than 'normal'). There is still just one egg in nestbox #1, so a 2nd is likely tomorrow (eggs always 2 or 3 days apart in my experience).

Last year, swifts occupied one of my starling-boxes for a few weeks, but not breeding. In preparation for the 2018 season, I moved the starling box lower down on the wall, and starlings now have young in it. In time for the swift season, I installed a new starling box in the original place, and last night, when it was almost dark, a swift clung onto the entrance for several minutes, and then crawled inside. These are deep boxes, floor area about 15x15cm, 30cm below the 45mm round hole - not what you'd imagine a swift using, but I want to give them a chance to try, given that they selected it last year. I have attached some rough wood inside, from floor up to the hole, for swifts to crawl up - a few years ago, a swift was (I think) stuck in this starling box, unable to climb the sides - I 'rescued' it. Later today: I've just watched a swift looking out of the box, and then leaving, so I'm happy that they can get out as well as in!

This morning, a swift entered 'brick-size' box #b2 - sparrows have young in the other one (#b1). There were swifts in #b2 for quite a while last year, but not breeding as far as I know.

2018-May-18 After nothing there so far this season, a swift entered camera nestbox #4 at 05:53 this morning and stayed for over 2 hours - it hadn't entered before (video monitoring) and I don't think I've had an arrival so early in the morning before. This was the confident arrival of a bird which knew the place, and not the more tentative exploring of a newcomer. I've put the video from #4 back online, so now 3 nests to look at.

Sometime this morning (11:00 or before), the pair in nestbox #1 produced their first egg.

It's difficult to say what is going on in gable-end boxes #g4, #g5, #g6, with just an outside camera. A pair have sometimes entered #g6, but also evidence of single birds going in #g4 and #g5. I think all 3 were occupied last night.

2018-May-16 With the continuing lack of swifts in camera nestbox #4, I've taken that one offline, and am broadcasting from gable-end nestbox #g3 instead, where there is a pair of swifts. I've also seen a pair going in and out of #g6.

2018-May-13 Yesterday, there seemed to be several instances of 'fights' going on over box #5 - an incoming swift was left partly protruding from the entrance for several minutes, until getting away again. Today, I have seen a pair enter soffit space #w1r, and after setting up a camera outside, saw a swift enter gable-entrance #g3.

2018-May-11 Time passes, and still no swifts in box #4 (the 2nd one with a camera). The pair in box #1 continue bringing in nesting material, and sticking it down (having started with a cleaned out box this year). I've seen swifts entering boxes #3 and #5, but I haven't had much time to watch for them so far.

2018-May-9 The swifts in box #1 have brought in some feather and dried grass as nesting material today. I've twice seen a swift enter box #5. A swift very briefly entered box #4, but had presumably made a mistake, as it circled round again and entered box #3.

2018-May-8 The solitary swift in box #1 left this morning, but at 10:44 two entered in quick succession. I've also seen a swift enter box #2 (no camera there). I noticed that the quality of the video from box #1 was rather poor - I've just given the lens a clean while the birds were away - now much better!

2018-May-7 I had not seen any swifts at all in 2018 until one returned to nestbox #1 at 16:47. It stayed for about half an hour before going out again. I saw up to 3 swifts flying above and by the house. The single bird returned for the night at 19:47. Of course it's possible that birds have returned to nests without cameras without me noticing.

2018-April-29 I have just been updating the web pages ready for the 2018 season.

The two video cameras are now online for the 2018 season (link to live video above), but it will probably be another week or so before the first birds arrive.

This is nestbox #1 in which swifts raised young for the first time in 2012.

In 2013 (with a camera in the box for the first time) they raised 3 chicks; 2 in 2014; 3 in 2015; 2 in 2016; and 1 in 2017.

The dates of arrival of the first swift in this box were: 2013 May 6th evening; 2014 May 5th evening; 2015 May 5th evening; 2016 May 4th afternoon; 2017 May 6th midday; 2018 May 7th afternoon.

This is nestbox #4 in which swifts raised young for the first time in 2014 (with a camera in the box).

2 chicks were raised in 2014; 3 in 2015; 2 in 2016; and 3 in 2017.

The dates of arrival of the first swift in this box were: 2014 May 7th evening; 2015 May 4th evening; 2016 May 5th evening; 2017 May 5th evening; 2018 May 18th morning.

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Author: Clarke Brunt (clarke.brunt@viridis.net)
Last modified: 8th February 2019