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A lone Swift flies over the garden this afternoon. I had become so used to the packs of Swifts cutting through the skies and round the chimney tops, that their absence brings a strange silence to the evenings. Autumn is approaching.

The return of Swifts to the village sky makes this a red letter day. News of their reappearance elsewhere in England was announced all over Twitter yesterday – I can’t quite fathom out why Gloucestershire should see them before we do in Norfolk, but that was how it appeared. Brampton Swifts waited until Ascencion day.

Walking back from the polling station, having been notified by Bill, there they were a circling group of eight Swifts over the village houses. Their sharp calls cutting through the air. It was noticeable that there was a hatch of flies about at ground level, so no doubt their arrival was somehow timed. From experience they will circle no gather for a few days before starting to return to roof eve nest sites. Sadly these sites have become fewer over the years as cottage roofs are repaired and gaps sealed up – the Swifts are barred from their age old sites. There is a real need for more Swift nest boxes to be constructed and installed.

 

Swifts in the dog days

July 16, 2013

As the village basks in the dog days of Summer, the grass of the Common takes on a tawny hue. The Swifts wheel and swoop around the cottage roofs. They gather in flocks at height and then descend in pairs or small groups, shattering the air with their screaming calls. There is a rushing sound of air as they brake and turn in front of their nest sites in the cottage roofs. We try to count them in the warm evenings but their speed and sudden changes in direction defy us.