Today.......a great spectacle as ever....last year it was the 27th of May.....
Have you got them yet? This is western Peak area....
None near the east Peak/west of Sheffield, or not yet. I'd be happy to be wrong and for them to be somewhere else in the general area, they're a sound of childhood.
Saw my first this year on Tuesday in Norwich. Happily, saw 4 today nearer home in Surrey. I just love hearing them scream across the sky.
Only saw my first swallow this week too.
Lots of hobbies around here at the moment, and the mayfly hatch has started in earnest, so they're all over my local paddling rivers. On the Thames the weekend before last, there were two flying acrobatics around us as we drifted in canoes, taking the first mayflies out. Until a couple of years ago, I'd hardly ever seen them.
I was starting to worry they had got lost, but ours turned up on Monday. We have about 10 pairs that nest in the eaves of our house every year, I love them. Our builder tried to persuade me to block up their nesting holes, it was not a long conversation.
I've put up 3 nest boxes under the eves. I'm hoping for some to take up residence. I remember as a kid them nesting under the eves of my parents house. I'm not sure if that was common, and we're seeing less of them now. Perhaps its just rose tinted memories and they nest in the same numbers, just in different places. I still cant tell the difference between a swift, swallow or martin, but admire their aerobatics all the same.
Saw them 1st May this year, but bird migration is all over the place this year: mild southerlies in March pushed some things up early and farther north. Bad spring weather in the Med scuppered migration for some birds.
Anyway, they are a Stonking Bird !!
> I've put up 3 nest boxes under the eves. I'm hoping for some to take up residence.
Good, they need to be encouraged.
> I remember as a kid them nesting under the eves of my parents house. I'm not sure if that was common, and we're seeing less of them now. Perhaps its just rose tinted memories and they nest in the same numbers, just in different places.
60% decline in breeding numbers in the UK since 1994. Source: https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/breeding-bird-survey/latest-results/population-trend-graphs - select swift from the drop-down list to see the graph. RSPB says they're on the red list https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/swift/ Basically, any help you can give them is more than welcome.
> I still cant tell the difference between a swift, swallow or martin, but admire their aerobatics all the same.
Swallow and house martin I can understand being tricky to distinguish*, but swifts really are very different: noticeably longer wings cf body length, classic crescent shape and quite stiff wingbeats in flight. They also don't tend to fly breathtakingly low over grassland like swallows and martins do, preferring to stay rather higher - although they will come lower over water.
The starlings round here seem to be very good at mimicking screaming swifts, which can be confusing!
* I spent a good ten minutes the other day try to convince myself that there were swallows (which would have been the first of the summer here) hawking for insects over a local field. Turned out both species were present, so I'd ID one confidently and then the next minute manage to convince myself I'd been mistaken because it had swapped places in the binos with one of the others. Sometimes birds can be rather uncooperative.
I saw my first swifts this morning in east London. Always great to see and although we see them every year there seem to be fewer than say, 15 to 20 years ago. I assume it is linked to there being fewer insects.
Fewer over Sheffield than during my childhood circa 30 (!) years ago, them being shot over Africa and other countries en-route doesn't help too apparently, but I wouldn't know how to categorise what impacts on numbers. They're beautiful creatures.
We are pleased to hear the nightjars round us trilling away in the dusk. They started singing last weekend. It's always welcome to hear them for the first time each year and watch them swooping round low down in the gloom.
First Swifts I saw this year were on 6th May - reservoir in Bury, Lancs; but they were reported in mid-April from Wigan area.
I don't think there are as many around nowadays, I remember summer evenings would be filled with screaming swifts. Doesn't seem to happen so much now.