Bristol Swifts Blog 2018

The blog is a record of my observations of swift activity seen around our house in Bristol. For details of all 17 boxes and their exact location see Swift nest box location on our house.

Last years blog was rather big and had to be split into two sections. See Early 2017 Blog for observations recorded up to May 31st and here for everything after that. Here are the 2015 Blog or 2016 Blog links.

Thursday 15th March

A little something to warm ones heart in anticipation of what we hope to see in a few weeks time. Our friend and fellow swift enthusiast, Mark Smyth has just sent me today this youtube clip of swifts screaming over the wailing wall in Jerusalem. Click on this link to see and hear them in all their glory Enjoy.

Saturday 27th January

10 years ago I built 10 swift boxes and based their size on box dimensions that were recommended at the time. Their dimensions were 10″ H x 17″ L x 10″ W. Each was built with a sloping roof so it tapers neatly under my eaves. However I’ve just seen nest sites in Castle Combe  that were barely 3″ deep under the tiles and this got me thinking about my large boxes. Could I make use of the “spare” headroom inside each, and how easy would it be to do?

So I decided to add a couple of false floors to my 2 corner boxes. They’ve always been my most popular boxes and have been occupied since 2012 & 2013 respectively. They also receive the most attention from prospecting newcomers, which makes them ideal candidates for a new trial.

The new dimensions of each top compartment is 4.5″ H x 12″L X 10″W.  They also have the slope of the roof to accommodate within their design which further reduces its overall size. Which starts at 2″ H to reach it”s maximum of 4.5″ H over the nest cup. The finishing touch was to paint all the interiors matt black. Outside I’ve added gripper rungs immediately below each entrance hole to give the swifts something to hold onto to when prospecting. The new dimensions of the bottom compartment is now 5.5″H (10″H over the nest cup) x 17″ L x 10″ W.

The reason I didn’t extend the false floors the whole length is both have cameras permanently fasten in that position and it was just too awkward to move them. So I left the cameras where they were so I can still view the nest cups below and adjusted the length of the false floors accordingly.

 As I’ve got another 8 boxes of similar size I could easily double my nest sites without too much bother if this proves successful, or more than likely, gradually replace all of them for smaller boxes as they wear out. Juries still out on this at the moment.

Tuesday 9th January

Apart from our swift colony, another success from last year was our swift/garden open days which raised almost £1000 for good causes – see photos below. It was so popular that we’ve decided to do it again this year.

As part of the United Kingdom Swift Awareness Week running from 16th-23rd June 2018 we will be holding a Swift/Open Garden morning on Saturday 23rd June 10 -1pm. Adults £3. Children Free. Fingers crossed all my resident pairs (14) will have returned safely, so there should be plenty of activity to see plus live video from inside my nest boxes. There will also be the opportunity to wander around our wildlife friendly garden and buy plants as well. All proceeds going to Gillian Westray (our local swift rehabber). Over 40 events have been planned so far right across the UK, so hopefully there will be something happening near you – see this link or contact for more details.

The following afternoon Sunday 24th June – 2-5pm will be holding an NGS Swift/Open Garden event. Adults £3. Children Free. Entrance fee donated to NGS selected charities and plant sales to Gillian Westray.

For more details about both events please email us via the Contact page.

NGS Swift Open Day 2017

Copyright © 2018 Mark Glanville. All Rights Reserved.