Thursday, 21 March 2019

Talk to Gwent Wildlife Trust

I visited Chepstow Yesterday evening to deliver a talk on Swifts. 30 to 40 attendees. Think it went well apart from a glitch with the video that I tried to show. Nice to meet the fledgling Chepstow Swift group

Friday, 15 March 2019

Cardiff Bay Swift tower

More progress on the tower front. The faulty welds have been re-welded by Centregreat in Cardiff and await a fresh coat of paint. The contract for the ground works/earth matting has been awarded to Alun Griffiths and we hope that this will be installed in the near future.

Our aim is to get the tower up this spring, in readiness for the return of the Swifts. We hope to host events (in Swift Awareness Week) to raise awareness of the plight of our Swifts.

The Cardiff Swift Survey will run again this summer. An advert for volunteer surveyors has been placed on the RSPB website. We're seeking as many volunteers as possible. Last year we had 50! So check out the website and sign up. (P.S. If you signed up last year, I'm afraid you'll have to apply again because of GDPR). If we know where Swifts are nesting, we'll have more chance of protecting their nest sites.

All Saints Barry

Howard and I paid a return visit to All Saints Church in Barry last Monday. Our aim was to install the call system in to the 10 box system that we installed earlier in the year in the church tower. Jane Clark and Angela Crutcher-Pugh (local Swift enthusiasts) were on hand to see the system and to learn how to set the timer for later in the year.
Luckily we were able to drop a cable down to a power point in the floor beneath the boxes.

I posted this picture on the Glamorgan Bird Club Facebook page and it received around 2000 views - remarkable. Let's hope for a successful outcome. An article has been submitted to the church magazine.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Swift tower update

We're making progress on the tower. The next job is to "fettle" the swift boxes in preparation for fixing to the structure. A coat of preservative and new latches are needed.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Swift monitors get-together

We held our final review session of the 2018 Cardiff Swift Survey last night in CafĂ© Hafren. Over 500 hours of Swift Surveying has been undertaken in the city - a fantastic effort by all involved.  In all, 21 of the 50 Swift monitors have attended our review sessions and provided a lot of very useful feedback. We'll certainly take note of the comments when designing/refining future surveys.

As a result of recent GDPR legislation, we'll have to re-advertise the role of Swift Surveyor for next spring. Keep your eyes peeled and please sign up for next year.

We were sad to say farewell to Carolyn from RSPB, who is off to pastures new, working for the Cairngorms Capercaillie Recovery Project. Best wishes, Carolyn and thanks for all the hard work you have put in to the project.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Cardiff Swift Survey

We've just received the 2018 survey maps from the RSPB. Makes interesting viewing:

 Here's a note from Carolyn Robertson of the RSPB:
These maps are the result of over 500 hours of time donated by Cardiffians walking the streets of our city this summer looking for and recording where our swifts are feeding and nesting.
People love where they live and the wildlife that lives there too – so much so that they’ll volunteer over 500 hours to help protect our city’s swifts
  • Volunteers have said some lovely things about their role as Cardiff Swift Surveyors; “I’m proud to have been a swift monitor helping to contribute to the future welfare of these magnificent fliers.” “Brought back great memories of childhood, listening to the screaming and low swooping of swift when out playing in the street during the 1970's”
  • Swift numbers have fallen dramatically. If the trend continues we stand to lose swifts as a breeding bird in the UK within the next 20 years. Now we know where they’re breeding in Cardiff we can take a much more informed approach to protecting them.
  • Swifts migrate each year from Africa, spending their summer in our city breeding and raising their young. Once the young fledge and leave Cardiff behind they won’t land again for up to 4 years (when they’re ready to breed); a world record for sustained flight in nature.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018


Llanblethian resident, David Webb has installed some Swift bricks in his chimney. He's hoping to add a call system next spring. They're not easy to see but you can just make out the entrance holes near the top of the chimney. Well done, David.