Both birds have started incubating the two eggs the first of which should hatch in about 19 days.
At 9.47am the first egg was laid. Not only was this amazing to watch, but it instantly revealed that our partial albino bird is a male! He stayed with his mate throughout, just out of shot when the egg was laid, but returned to her very soon afterwards. The effort required to lay the egg was quite protracted with bouts of hard pushing and lengthy resting periods. After the egg was laid the female looked exhausted, but within ten minutes after some affectionate mutual preening they mated on the nest. The weather is hot and sunny, perfect conditions for the female to build up strength again to recover and prepare for the next egg which will probably be laid on 30th May. Normally Swifts lay two or three eggs.
The swifts have been bringing in feathers, blossom petals and straw bits. They almost always arrive together and both add roughly the same amount of material to the nest. It can’t be long before the first egg appears. Swifts lay two or three eggs. Watch this space.
With an improvement in the weather the swifts are starting to gather nest material. All their material is gathered in the air. So far only feathers have been added.
With the temperature no more than 8 celsius on May 19th the swifts stayed in their box for most of the morning, huddled up tight with body feathers extremely puffed up.
After a series of fast aerial pursuits our Swift lured a mate into the box. There is no way of telling whether this is the same mate as last year, but the pair were immediately very comfortable in each other’s company and the new bird was very practised at entering the nest box despite very strong cross winds. After an hour so preening each other and resting side by side they left to feed.
Our partial albino Swift returned on the evening of 11th May at 7.50pm. It promptly settled and stayed quietly in the box for over thirteen hours. A rest after arrival from Africa. It arrived with a large number of Swifts who travelled into Britain on warm south westerly winds on the south side of a low pressure system. This Swift has been visiting our house since at least 2010, breeding for the first time last year. This year I have added a camera to obtain these images of this very distinctive Swift.