Save Our Swifts talk – Thursday 5th July
Church Hall, Victoria Rd, Aldeburgh IP15 5DU – 7pm
Update 19th June
We believe there are about 40 birds in town this year (compared to about 50 last year) with groups over the town end of Saxmundham Rd, Church Farm Rd and above the Cragg Sisters Tea Shop. Late evening viewing is best from the top of the Town Steps and generally there are about 15 birds putting on their evening display.
Update 6th June
Our evening count show that many of our Swifts are feeding ‘out of town’ in the evenings with only three groups of three birds around town. The cold wind is probably driving them inland! But one group were over the White Hart so hopefully they have returned to nest there.
Update 29th May
Some of our Swifts returned on time with a few early sightings around town and again over the Town Steps at 6.47pm on Monday 7th May, much to the delight of our new box owners!
One set of nesters in the High Street appear to be back but there are concerns right across the UK that fewer birds have returned than in previous years. 50 were seen over the southern end of town (North Warren) on 18th May but these birds may just have been passing through. A count on 22nd May numbered 9 over Church Farm Road, 2 over the Church, 11 over the Town Steps and 7 over Saxmundham Rd. And on the 24th, a screaming party of 6 birds was much in evidence over the Cragg Sisters’ Tea shop where a pair nested last year.
As mentioned during Spring Watch, the weather here in the UK and in Europe may be to blame for the late ‘arrival’ of flowers and migrant birds (and the lower than average numbers) and certainly the recent strong northerly winds and cold rain in France would have made their return flight a difficult journey.
The number of Swifts in Aldeburgh does seem to be down on last year so we can but hope for a successful breeding year for the ones who are here. Do let us know if you have any Swifts around your boxes in the weeks to come as the juveniles will be ‘banging’ on the entrance all through the breeding season as they reserve nesting sites for the following season. Similarly let us know if anyone else takes up residence! We will keep you posted.
Mark telephoned us yesterday to report a Swift sitting on the bench outside the White Hart which had been picked up off the ground. Was this one of the pair who nested next to the pub last year and had just returned, exhausted from his journey back? Fortunately he was able to fly off without assistance.
Our children’s story book – Storm, The story of Aldeburgh’s amazing Swift – is now available. It tells the story of our rescued Swift and where we hope he will have travelled to since last summer.
Copies are available for a small donation from the Suffolk Secrets’ office in the High Street, The Aldeburgh Bookshop, the Library and the White Hart pub (where Storm may have been born!).
We hope it will inspire you and your family to want to find out more about the challenges our wildlife are facing and what you can do to help.
We are also delighted to have been awarded some funding by the Suffolk Secrets/AONB Fund to help promote our Swift conservation project.
With their support, we have been able to install three nesting sites in the Aldeburgh Parish Church – they can be seen between the slate louvres on the south elevation (see pictures below). We have also set up a call system to attract the Swifts and a camera to hopefully capture some wildlife action. To view the camera’s images we plan to have a television in the Church shortly. Whilst we wait to see whether we have any success in attracting Swifts this year, we have been filming the Jackdaws on one of their nests. They have been nesting in the tower for many years and in one place their nest is now over 2ft tall, sandwiched between the louvres and the inner window! But do hurry, the two chicks are growing fast and will probably be gone by the 16th June.
And finally …
Swift boxes in the town
Aldeburgh now has 66 boxes installed so we have significantly exceeded our target – a huge ‘thank you’ to all the residents who have supported our project. A town map in the library shows where these are located so do drop in and take a look.