May 22nd- painting swifts in a strong breeze

Swift Diary

A warm but very breezy day with gusts probably touching 40 mph at times. Many fresh leaves were being blown into the air, reminding me of autumn. During the morning the swifts and martins were feeding very low over the gardens. Insect food would have been kept low by the strong wind. We saw up to six swifts at times, so I am fairly sure a new bird has arrived in this part of the village.

I spent some time sketching the swifts and skies in watercolour, no pencil, just straight in with the brush. The swifts were making some wonderful shapes with their long crescent wings as they negotiated the strong wind. They appeared to do this with ease, feeding as they flew into wind over several hundred metres then turning back downwind to start the process again. During these downwind flights some incredible speeds were obtained. Sometimes chasing birds seemed to revel in the assisted power of the wind and they must have been approaching their maximum speed in brief bursts.

Today was a day for enjoying swifts in their element.




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