Seen any swifts flying around?

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LewishamSwifts
Posts: 2
Joined: 25 May 2018 15:23
Location: Lewisham

Seen any swifts flying around?

Post by LewishamSwifts » 26 May 2018 11:50

Swifts are summer visitors to the UK - they migrate here to nest and reproduce and are only seen from May to August. Their numbers are in decline and Lewisham Swifts is trying to protect and increase their nest sites by raising awareness of swifts across the borough and encouraging people to look out for them.

Swifts are known to be nesting in Adamsrill Road (Lower Sydenham) and in Wynell Road (which runs parallel with Mayow Road at the Perry Vale end) and they are a frequent sight in the sky above those areas. Swifts have also been seen over Upper Sydenham and some residents of Longton Avenue have recently installed swift nest boxes.

Lewisham Swifts is inviting people to look out for swifts and report sightings to us so that we can record them on a Lewisham-wide map.

There is information on our blog about how to report swift sightings and, if you're really keen, how to volunteer to do a swift survey.

Swift numbers have been declining for years. One of the reasons is that swifts nest in buildings (eg in roof soffits) but modern building materials don't have small spaces that swifts can nest in. Swifts pair for life and return to the same nest year after year. Swift enthusiasts across the UK are trying to reverse the decline by finding swift nests and engaging with building owners to let them know how to protect their nests. Installing nest boxes or 'swift bricks' near an existing swift colony also helps to increase the number of potential nest sites. 10 swift nest boxes were installed at the top of Wynell Road (near the entrance to Sydenham Garden) earlier this month in a joint initiative between Lewisham Swifts, Lewisham Homes and the Forest Hill Fire Brigade.

Lewisham Swifts was created three years ago by a Wynell Road resident who had swifts nesting near her own home. The group is now spreading its attention borough-wide but as our origins are in this corner of the borough we are keen to strengthen our knowledge of swifts nesting in Sydenham and Forest Hill. So please do look out for swifts and let us know if you see them.

Thank you!

robbieduncan
Posts: 384
Joined: 28 Oct 2013 17:10
Location: Trewsbury Road

Re: Seen any swifts flying around?

Post by robbieduncan » 26 May 2018 12:19

I’m pretty sure we see them over our garden at Trewsbury Road. In fact I think a pair have nested under the eaves of our house in previous years

mikej
Posts: 381
Joined: 14 Dec 2006 21:55
Location: New Beckenham

Re: Seen any swifts flying around?

Post by mikej » 26 May 2018 17:45

I've no idea how to tell a Swift from (eg) a Swallow - any tips?

Tim Lund
Posts: 6647
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Seen any swifts flying around?

Post by Tim Lund » 26 May 2018 18:31

I saw some yesterday.

Swift fly higher, faster, make a sort of screeching sound, don't have any white on them, and don't have the distinctive forked swallow tail

JRW
Posts: 330
Joined: 18 Jun 2015 15:01

Re: Seen any swifts flying around?

Post by JRW » 26 May 2018 19:15

They don't alight onto telephone wires, or oto the ground, as their legs and feet are miniscule; they are either flying high, or in the nest.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildl ... -a-z/swift

LewishamSwifts
Posts: 2
Joined: 25 May 2018 15:23
Location: Lewisham

Re: Seen any swifts flying around?

Post by LewishamSwifts » 27 May 2018 21:30

Thanks robbieduncan, we'll check out Trewsbury Road.

Swifts vs swallows: short answer, if you see them flying over south east London they're swifts! Personally, I can't tell them apart when they're in flight. As Tim and JRW have said, there's a difference in the tail and only swallows alight on telephone wires. Swifts make a distinctive 'screaming' noise - there's a link to an audio file on the RSPB page JRW linked to. Also, swallows make visible nests, they look a bit like a pouch made from papier mache. Whereas swifts' nests aren't visible because they nest in small spaces, eg in a hole in a soffit or under loose rooftiles (both of which are increasingly rare as we like to make our homes wildlife-proof!). They're also very clean birds so there's no sign of droppings beneath the nest (unlike swallows).

danmarwil
Posts: 11
Joined: 1 Apr 2016 12:05
Location: Sydenham

Re: Seen any swifts flying around?

Post by danmarwil » 28 May 2018 09:10

I have definitely seen some in the skies around the end of Tannsfeld Rd/Alexandra Recreation Ground.

Tim Lund
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Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Seen any swifts flying around?

Post by Tim Lund » 28 May 2018 17:13

Some years ago I saw a house Martin nest in one of the roads near the Pool River

chris 1961
Posts: 18
Joined: 24 Nov 2017 15:10
Location: Sydenham

Re: Seen any swifts flying around?

Post by chris 1961 » 7 Jun 2018 08:16

Saw a couple last night over Tredown Road / Byne Road.

Tim Lund
Posts: 6647
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Seen any swifts flying around?

Post by Tim Lund » 11 Jun 2018 15:33

Just seen three wheeling away over Mayow Park ...

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