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27th July- swift portraits 2020

Numbers of swifts over the village yesterday evening were about half what they were on the previous evening. There was very little low level activity which made the two low, fast passes even more special. Many people across the UK reported reduced numbers or even a complete absence at some colonies. However there is still time for another burst of swift activity especially the further north you are. As the weather warms towards the end of the week there might just be one final show.

The adult swifts huddled up with their two nestlings until 11.31am. The weather was atrocious at times with heavy rain and strong wind. Before the adults left I positioned the scope to sketch them. A portrait of each parent before they leave. I have followed these birds each day from May and recognise each by its face markings.

With the young expected to leave in the next two or three days their work will soon be done. As far as we know they will not see each other for another nine months. All being well they will be reunited in the same nest box in May. I feel quite moved looking at their beautiful faces having shared the worst of the weather with them this summer. As other pairs have lost chicks ours have battled, sometimes in horrendous conditions to see their two chicks the forty or so days through to fledging.

I will think about them often in the winter, trying to imagine their view, wondering about the struggles they may face in their changing habitat in Africa and eventually praying for good weather as they make their return to us next April.

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