Last month I attended training to take part in the City of Edinburgh swift survey. Yesterday I finally received the information I need to carry out the survey, including the map of the streets I've been designated to survey. So yesterday evening, Crafty Green Boyfriend and I walked slowly round our designated survey area (luckily enough centred on our own flat!), looking our for swifts. Very sadly we hardly saw any and most of those we did see were flying too high up to count as being obviously near potential nest sites. It was a lovely evening with clear skies, mild temperatures and only a slight breeze so we had hoped to see more swifts though we know very well that they have declined in this area over the past few years (as they have sadly across most of the UK).
We need to make at least another survey walk of the area to make closer observations on potential nest sites. Hopefully we will see more swifts then! We also need to add in our very local swifts, which didn't show themselves for the survey but which are still definitely around!
You can read the report on the last swift survey carried out in Edinburgh here. I imagine a similar report will be produced for this year's survey.
If you're not in Edinburgh, but would like to help survey swifts in the UK then you can find out more on the RSPB website here.
I'm also still working on my contribution to the ongoing, comprehensive plant survey of the Water of Leith. So far I've added to the existing results - several grasses, a few fungi (including the rust fungi found on the recent rust fungi indentification workshop I attended!) and a couple of species of flowering plant.
It's important to survey plants and animals so that conservationists have a good idea of how species are doing and can design management plans where necessary to help struggling species. It's also a great way to increase your own knowledge about wildlife and it's good fun too!
Join a wildlife survey for 30 Days Wild.