Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Two new chicks today

At last we have managed to watch and film a changeover of the sitting swifts in box 3 today and I'm happy to report that we now have two more chicks. It's been difficult to spot what's been going on in the nest so far, as one of the parents has been constantly on the nest since the eggs were laid. Here is the changeover, in which you might get a glimpse of the chicks:

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and here is another one, showing the returned parent bird feeding the two youngsters:


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Here is a brief video of the two chicks on their own - the parent is just sitting by the entrance watching flypasts:


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Things are much the same otherwise, we still have two adults and three youngsters in box 2 and they are showing an interest in the outside world. I haven't seen any wing excercises yet though. Here they are in the nest with the two parents keeping guard at the entrance against any prospectors:

 

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Box 1 continue to roost each night but tend to disappear from dawn to dusk. One of their abandoned eggs has been spotted at the side of the box.  There have been several flypasts this morning, at one stage there were 8 flying around whilst two adults were still in the boxes and box 5 has again been visited several times although there is still nobody roosting yet. So, not long to go until the swifts start to think about returning to Africa. We should keep the box 3 ones until around the middle of August though when the young fledge, all being well.  Unfortunately the swift season is all too short!


Friday, 14 July 2017

How many Swifts can you fit in a nest?

How many? The answer is 5! Here's a video from bedtime in box 2 yesterday evening:

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During the day the youngters are starting to get a bit active, here's one surveying the scenes outdoors through the entrance hole:

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Meanwhile, box 3 continue to incubate - hatching should be any day now. Still nobody roosting in box 5 yet, although somebody still visits at odd hours of the day, sits for a while then exits again. Box 1 eggs are completely gone but the adults are still roosting every night so there's hope for next year.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Eyes open in box 2

I'm pleased to report today that the three youngsters in box 2 have their eyes open now and are beginning to move about the box, or at least one of them is, since only two can actually fit in the nest now! Here they are, showing a passing interest in the small beetle that is wandering about the floor of the box:

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Box 3 are still incubating their two eggs, here is a changeover with the sitter fixing some more feathers on the nest:

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Box 1 seem to have mislaid their eggs yet again, one being found on the roof tiles below the box so we don't think much is going to happen there this year. Never mind, it's practise for next year, hopefully they'll get it right then!

We've been away for a couple of days so we don't yet know what the situation is with the pair that were prospecting in box 5, one has been seen in there today but tonight will tell whether they are settled and roosting at night. There have been a lot of fly-pasts today at least, so hopefully I shall have good news next time.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Box 1 lay an egg

At last, the pair in box 1 laid an egg this morning. Later on the box was checked again, only to find the egg was out of the nest:



















So whilst the birds were out it was placed back in the nest:




















Luckily the boxes are all sited next to an upstairs window so we can reach into the boxes without resorting to a ladder every time. Here's the owner sitting on it again whilst adding feathers to the nest, and hopefully the egg will stay where it should be.


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Decoy Swift has not had to come out today, (it's been 'perched' by the entrance to box 6 for the last two afternoons) because the good news is that a new pair seem to be interested in box 5 now. We don't know if it was because of Decoy Swift or not but we hope they will stay to roost this evening. Here are two short videos of the interested parties inspecting the box, firstly the finder, and then it brought a mate along to view as well:

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 Here's hoping they will move into this very desirable residence permanently!


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Prospectors

I noticed today that there were some prospectors doing a few fly pasts and also landing briefly. They seemed to be most interested in box 2, which of course is already occupied by the pair and three chicks. The adults were out at the time, but the prospectors didn't enter the box. Rather, they seemed more interested in the upper back of the box, just underneath the gutter. This is rather annoying, since boxes 4, 5 and 6 are empty and just waiting for somebody to move in! It occurred to me that maybe next year I should put false gutters on the fronts of boxes 4, 5 and 6, just above the entrance holes, if that's what they seem to like. Obviously I can't be up a ladder right now doing it, as the swifts are coming and going a lot of the time, so that'll be a job for the winter. However, it then occurred to me that maybe there was something else I could do, (other than a large white arrow saying 'This Way Please') to draw their attention to the vacant boxes....enter 'Decoy Swift':





















Made from a piece of cardboard cut out (to a rather large, admittedly),  swift shape, painted black and with wire 'feet' on it's head to hook on to the entrance hole, this will remain for a couple of hours each afternoon and be removed before dusk, just to draw the prospector's attention to the box. I don't know if this will have any effect at all but it's an interesting experiment...watch this space!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Doing well


Our young swifts in box 2 are doing well, growing by the day but they don't appear to have opened their eyes yet. Here's a short video of the parent having fed them this morning:


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With the current good weather the parents are out most of the day, just coming back occasionally to feed. We reckon that the three youngsters will be ready to fly the nest on around the 30th July. Box 3 are still incubating, the date the eggs should hatch is around the 16th July with any luck. Box 1 are still coming in to roost each night but have not laid any eggs as yet.