Friday, 17 June 2022

New nest box schemes

We've got two new nest box schemes in the pipeline. Firstly, we have been in contact with MV Homes in Merthyr and they are keen to erect some Swift boxes on some of their properties. Howard Driver has built some boxes which will be delivered soon.



Secondly we are in talks with Newydd homes to install boxes on one of their developments in Barry. More news when we get it.

Late news Strinda Davies has been out monitoring Swifts in her locality and she has found 5 new nest sites.


Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Ninian Park School visit the Swift tower

Today (17th May),  the pupils of Ninian Park School visited the Swift tower. They learned a lot about Swifts; their migration, where they nest, how fast they fly etc etc. An enjoyable day was had by all and the pupils rounded it off with a boat trip around the bay.

We are due to have a repeat performance tomorrow. 

Sadly we weren't allowed to take pictures. 

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Welcome Back the Swifts





 

The Swift project goes on apace. We held our Heritage Lottery funded “Welcome back the Swifts” event on the Cardiff Bay barrage on 14th May. Luckily the day was fine and we were able to set up our stall near the Swift tower. Some Swifts were spotted early on but as temperatures rose there were fewer sightings. Over a hundred folk came seeking information and advice about how to help our Swifts. Sadly the Swift Champion from the Senedd. Jenny Rathbone was unable to attend but Cardiff Councillor Bob Derbyshire, a keen advocate for wildlife, did come along and met some of the team.

 

RSPB Cymru put on some activities for children and many happy youngsters went away with a model Swift on a stick and a pin badge. Two guided walks were undertaken with Whitethroat, Greenfinch, Linnet and Goldfinch of note. The main interest however was the Sand Martins that are nesting close to the tower. Some lucky observers saw Red Kite, Wheatear, Peregrine and Rock Pipit too. Many thanks to all who supported the event.

 

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Welcome back the Swifts

 Just a reminder that on May 14th, we shall be on the Cardiff Bay barrage welcoming back the Swifts. Come along and meet the team.





 We have received a generous donation of 5 Swift boxes from Alun Rees from Treherbert. Many thanks Alun. We shall need to find suitable homes for them.



Sunday, 20 March 2022

 Welcome back the Swifts event

We have a green light for the “Welcome Back the Swifts” event, which we are co-hosting with our Cardiff Bay Swift Project partners - i.e. RSPB Cymru and the Cardiff Harbour Authority.  This will be held on Saturday May 14th  from 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. We shall set up near the Swift tower on the Cardiff Bay barrage. Mark the date in your diary and please come along to celebrate the return of these iconic birds from Africa. We shall set up telescopes and have binoculars to hand. There will be guided bird walks (hopefully watching Swifts, amongst others), information packs and plenty of activities for children.

 You may well have had a pleasant stroll across the Cardiff Bay barrage in recent weeks and heard the sound of Swifts screaming overhead. No, you’re not going daft. Swifts have been heard over the bay during the last couple of months. Joking aside, the repairs that we had undertaken to the tower call system meant that we weren’t able to add a timing device. This  means that it is permanently playing. We have been assured that the solar panels and the battery can take the loading so we decided to let it play on. It does at least cause passers-by to stop and inspect the tower.

 

Following our successful link up with the Valleys 2 Coast Housing Association last year, we have contacted several other HA’s and have had a very positive response from the United Welsh Housing Association, who are mainly based in the Ely area of Cardiff. We hope to set up a Swift box scheme there. Good news too that the new library building in Pontypridd has integrated Swift bricks. Let’s hope they are used.

 You’ll find a useful leaflet about on Swift bricks on the Glamorgan Bird Club web site. If you are involved in planning, construction or are considering renovations, please check it out.

 A site visit to Cowbridge was made to see some successful nest boxes. One house in the main street has 5 pairs (3 in boxes - see below). Boxes do work, especially if there is a colony nearby. The owner is hoping to erect more boxes. The Club hope to organise a Swift Walk around the town to see if we can find more nesting pairs.

 Late news - Annie Irving was walking past the tower in mid March and saw House Sparrows entering one of the boxes. This is actually a positive sign. Recent research seems to point to Swifts “following” Sparrows to find potential nesting sites. Fingers crossed.

 

Thursday, 6 January 2022

 New Year update

As expected the Swift has now been put on to the BoCC red list. The criteria for inclusion varies from species to species but in the case of the Swift it was a 50% fall in numbers over a 25 year period that caused the downgrade.  Alarm bells are ringing.

There has been a lot of fire-fighting with our Swift projects. The Cardiff Bay Swift tower group has met to discuss various issues, not least of which was the faulty call system. We have now fixed the problem, with the help of BlackboxAV from Port Talbot (see below). They replaced the player but had to by-pass the time controller so the player will be on full-time. Luckily there are no neighbours to annoy. Also we have undertaken our bi-annual safety inspection of the tower and fortunately it passed all the checks as part of our bid to the Heritage Lottery.

Chris Dunn from Trinity Church in Penarth has been in touch. You may well recollect that scaffolding had been placed around the church tower. They have been having problems with pigeons in the tower and are planning to add mesh to the outside of the louvred entrances. We are hoping to cut small holes to line up with our Swift box entrances - fingers crossed.

 

The possibility of installing boxes in Fonmon Castle has stalled. The owners have asked us to pause the project for the time being, whilst some problems with the electrics are sorted.

 There is some positive news however. The Caerphilly LNP discussed Swifts at a recent meeting. Richard Clarke has been installing Barn Owl boxes in churches in the county and is hoping to install some Swift boxes too. We have also been in touch with the Newydd Housing Association in Barry to discuss installing some boxes there.

 Of interest a Common Swift was seen hawking for insects over Sheffield on 3rd December.