Friday, 17 November 2017

Swift project talk

I gave a talk to various wildlife groups in Cardiff University yesterday evening. It was well attended and it generated quite a lot of interest. Several "new" volunteers stepped forward and new contacts were made. On the back of it, I was approached to give a talk to another group next June. Many thanks to all those that came along and supported the event.

Also Howard has been in touch. He's constructed the boxes for Trinity in Penarth. We hope to put them up in the New Year

Friday, 29 September 2017

Recent developments

Julia, Howard and I visited Trinity in Penarth today. Looking good. Pictures below.

Also the bid to HLF for a grant towards a tower in Cardiff has been submitted. HLF should respond within a couple of months.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Good news from Trinity Church

The Swifts will be leaving our shores soon. There were large numbers over the River Ely yesterday. Christine from Trinity Church in Penarth has been in touch. They are keen to put some Swift boxes up in their tower. A site visit is planned in the autumn.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Some appalling news

I met Paul Virgin, the Ranger from Parc Taf  Bargoed this morning. He informed me that the Swift tower, erected last year in the park, had been vandalised. This was not some mindless act of vandalism however. Someone had undone all the bolts at the base of the tower with a socket set, brought the tower down and destroyed the nesting chambers. Luckily there weren't any Swifts in residence.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017


  • Julia and Linda have been out surveying in Barry with local resident, Jane.
  • Gareth has been keeping an eye on the church tower boxes in Llantwit Major. As far as he can tell, there's been no interest yet, although he did see 20 birds over the town.
  • I paid a visit to Trinity Church in Penarth. Hopefully, we'll be able to install some boxes inside their tower this winter.
  • Ian has had a box erected in his street and the builders are very keen to put up more. He distributed some Swift badges.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Time to get out surveying

It's time to get out surveying your Swifts. I went to one of my local sites on Pontypridd on Thursday. There were 20 or so Swifts screaming overhead. I located one house where at least four (possibly 5) birds were entering holes under the eaves.
I notice that SEWBREC and the other Welsh Record Centres are holding an event on June 10th, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their formation.  They have highlighted several species that they wish to record and the Swift is one of them.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Sorry tale

Had a phone call from Dave & Margaret Knight from Penarth last week. His neighbour's cat had brought in a Swift. It was still alive, so Dave did exactly the right thing, by putting it in a box and giving it water from a tissue. Sadly the Swift died the next day. It seems, it had been trying to enter a nest site that had been blocked up during renovations to the roof and exhausted itself. It shows that we must be mindful of this when undertaking roof repairs.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Kings Road, Canton

Julia and I leafletted Kings Road in Canton yesterday. There are a few pairs of Swifts in the area and we thought we'd make the locals aware of them. Awaiting responses.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Nature's Home magazine

Cardiff and the GBC are included in an article on Swifts in the current edition of Nature's Home magazine. I undertook a phone interview with Louise Tickle some time ago and quite frankly had forgotten all about it and was quite shocked to see my name in print this afternoon.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Swift update

A Swift has already been seen (at Sker Point on 15th Apr - incredibly early).

  • Julia has been back to Llantwit Major and fitted the call system to the boxes in the church tower. Let's hope that it is a success. 
  • A proposal has been put to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding for a Swift Tower in Cardiff Bay. Watch this space.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Boxes in St Illtuds, Llantwit Major

Good news. The Swift boxes have been erected inside the church tower. Thanks to Howard Driver, who built the boxes and to Gareth Roberts who did all the negotiating. The next job is to install the Swift call equipment.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Cardiff Harbour Authority

A meeting was held on 23rd February with the CHA, RSPB and ourselves to discuss the possibility siting of a Swift tower in Cardiff Bay. This area attracts lots of Swifts on passage and would, we believe be a great place to site a tower.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

SEWBReC forum

Alan Rosney gave a brief presentation on our Swift project to the Gwent-Glamorgan Recorders' forum on Saturday 20th January (held at the Park Inn, Cardiff). It seemed to go down well.

Friday, 20 January 2017

St Illtud's Church, Llantwit Major

Productive site meeting in Llantwit Major this morning. Howard Driver measured the space where we'd like to install boxes inside the church tower. The plan is to try four boxes in a stack arrangement (with calling system ) to start with, with a view to adding more if it is successful.
Many thanks to the vicar and bell ringers from the church for allowing us access.

A view of the church from the entrance. We plan to install the boxes behind the louvres on the opposite side of the tower (east facing).

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Call system for Merthyr tower

Good news. Merthyr Council have purchased a call system for use with the Swift tower in Parc Taf Bargoed. Let's hope it is successful.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Upcoming meetings

We've got several meetings in the next couple of weeks to discuss all things Swift.

1. I've been down to Penarth to look at the potential nest box sites that Ian Hartrey has lined up.
2. A site visit to the church in Llantwit Major has been arranged. Thanks to Gareth Roberts for arranging access.The plan is to measure up the space for nest box erection inside the tower.
3. I'm giving a short presentation on Swifts at the SEWBReC forum on Saturday 21st Jan. in Cardiff.
4. We're meeting with a rep from Cardiff Council to discuss Swift towers on 25th Jan. Thanks to RSPB Cymru for setting this up.