Not to be confused with Swallows and House Martins! See below.
Swifts can be seen flying high over the roof tops on a summer’s evening, often screeching in small groups. They arrive in the UK at the beginning of May and leave to fly back to Africa in the middle of August. They nest inside building structures – under tiles and in holes in roofs so the nests are not visible – and never land (except to raise their chicks). They feed, sleep and mate all ‘on the wing’ and the great news is that they don’t make a mess (unlike the Swallows and House Martins).
Best place to view – over the roof tops of Aldeburgh on a warm summer’s eve whilst sitting with your drink outside the White Hart.
Swallows are also summer visitors to the UK. They are mainly airborne but can perch on wires and land to pick up mud for their nests. Sometimes seen skimming the pond for a drink outside the Moot Hall, they are best spotted flying into their nests in the public loos on the sea front or even down the High Street whilst having your morning coffee outside Munchies.
Also summer visitors! Nesting high under the eaves of our houses, they are a common sight above Aldeburgh and can be seen whilst enjoying your afternoon tea in Tiffany Garden Corner outside the Wentworth (they are nesting under the eaves of the adjacent blue house). But like the Swifts, their nesting sites are under threat. Martins build their nests on the outside of buildings but their mud nests will not stick to the plastic fascias we are now fitting to our houses. Please fit timber ones!
Illustrations by Mike Langman reproduced with the kind permission of the RSPB ( http://rspb-images.com )