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Swifts

Posted by Barrie Cooper 
Swifts
June 22, 2019 01:13PM
At least thirty swifts were feeding low around the Wildfowler's Pools this morning. Stunning views when they came close over the cycle path. This is the largest group I've seen here this year and it made me wonder if they were local family groups or failed breeders or very late migrants that were held back by the poor weather across Europe this spring.
Re: Swifts
June 26, 2019 08:21AM
I've had similar experiences with low level feeding over Crosshill Park this last week, though not in such numbers. It is pretty common this time of year and always spectacular to be so close to feeding birds. They take me and my mower to be a sort of browsing herbivore and circle the machine for insects I disturb. They come right under the wheels within 3 feet. I take them to be foraging birds, either non-breeders or parents. We are at the stage now where most nests are or have hatched and adults are returning regularly during daylight hours to feed young. The weather appears to have improved at just the right time.

The last two weeks of June is usually the time the chafer larvae emerge from mown or grazed turf and fly. Like a lot of insects they are attracted to a large white surface and our big white sightscreens make excellent 'traps' . Some mornings in mid June the screens are studded with hundreds of chafers. The adults are not fantastic flyers and I'm pretty convinced this is what the swifts are down and feeding on. Low level swift or swallow flights can happen early season too if the St Mark's Fly emergence is delayed into mid May.
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