Anyone who watches swifts will know. I settle down to do something, in this case my daily blog, I just begin thinking all is quiet when a swift screams outside. The screams of swifts are as much a feeling as a sound for me. They literally make me jump, I instinctively rush to the garden. Sometimes they are so fast that you miss them and there is no trace in the sky. Quite how they do this I still haven’t fathomed? So I settle back down to work. The same happens again, only this time the swifts linger, a couple more fast passes and now they are slowing down a little and starting to stoop towards the eaves and towards the nest boxes. Before I know it another half an hour has passed and I sit down to work again.
Today has been one glorious distraction after another. With warmth and humidity the swifts are full to the brim with energy and my how they use it. Dozens probably hundreds of passes and approaches seen, countless wings seen flapping against walls, all sketched and captured in my mind. But what set today apart here in Gilling East was the number of birds involved. We had twelve prospecting- that is an enormous number here, twice the usual summer peak. We only have approximate three pairs(including ours) in the village with roughly the same number again in Gilling Castle, to the west. With the house martins coming and going too the airspace around our house was chaotic- but what glorious chaos, enjoyed not by using fuel in my car, or travelling, but drinking a coffee in my own back garden. Not having them around is unimaginable at the moment, their visit is fleeting but their impact on my year is immense.
Below. A flypast of six swifts yesterday evening.