August 1st   Leave a comment

I have been away for most of the last two months – Nigeria, Namibia, Botswana and Italy. I feel disconnected from Crail as a consequence although the consolation has been the chance to see a lot of new birds and lots of Crail rarities – particularly in Italy where they are just common garden birds. One day I will see a bee-eater flying over my garden.

Coming back from Italy yesterday I was pleased to see common swifts again. The only ones in southern Europe were passing through, heading to Africa. Swifts – like cuckoos – really only stay up here to breed and as soon as they are done they head back home. The season starts earlier somewhere like Italy and it finishes earlier because the chicks grow faster on the better insect diet in the warmer climate. Swift chicks shut down their development in cool weather when the adults can’t find enough food locally, so they take longer to fledge somewhere like Crail. But this summer must have been good for the swifts here so I don’t expect their season to be that much longer. They might depart any day now – their usual departure in a cool summer might be mid-August.

Common swift – screaming around Crail now for their last few days until next May

Posted August 1, 2018 by wildcrail in Sightings

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