I had hoped to arrange another Adderbury Swift Walk for Swift Awareness Week (starting 27 June) but that’s no longer possible. However here’s a suggestion about how you could enjoy one of the great sights and sounds of the summer.
On a warm summer evening before the end of July, take a stroll through the centre of the village. Set off at about 7.30 pm or a bit later; keep an eye on the skies and your ears open for screaming parties of Swifts as you go. You can find Swifts in several parts of the village, including Tanners Lane, Manor Road, The Leys and Cross Hill Road for instance, but the best numbers are at the end of Church Lane. So make sure you spend a little time there near the entrance to the Church.
Some of the birds you see will be parents taking food to young in the nest. Before the end of the month these chicks will be fledging and then heading off to Africa. Others will be younger birds, two or three years old, looking for nest places which they will return to next summer.
You can also enjoy some watching Swifts in Milton.
I hope you find watching these birds enjoyable and uplifting, but I have a further reason for suggesting this. The number of Swifts in Britain is nearly 60% lower than it was 25 years ago. Swifts need all the help they can get, so I try to discover find out where our remaining Swifts are and use the information to try to look after nest places and lobby for new ones in new buildings.
You are welcome to contact me with interesting sightings or for more information.
Chris Mason (Cherwell Swifts) –mason@cando.eclipse.co.uk

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