As big southerly movements of swifts were recorded down the east coast of Yorkshire over the last two days the non breeding birds have been absent from this area. However yesterday evening, the lightest and longest of the year some swifts appeared and performed some awe inspiring flypasts. Up to four carried out high speed turning passes by the nest boxes on the back of our house again and again. These are the evenings I try to savour for the eight or so months of the year when I cannot see a swift. The evening saw a beautiful sunset turn to twilight with high cloud streaks ahead of an active weather front approaching from the west.
Today saw heavy occasionally thundery showers in the afternoon. Our swiftlets have had a great start and are growing very fast now. They are starting to grow downy feathers and in warmer periods the adults are more confident about leaving them uncovered.
I have been puzzled by the absence of the non breeding birds again, the weather has been warm between rain. We know so little about these younger birds. Where were they born? How far do they roam whilst they are here in June and July? What exactly causes them to just leave for several days? Swifts pose so many questions. Mysteries that in some ways I would rather keep that way and yet I suspect if I found out they would be even more mysterious than I could imagine.
Below. Swift studies, an original watercolour painted outside from life by our swift colony. £375 unframed. For more details email firstname.lastname@example.org