Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Do you see the swifts are here again?
They swoop so low and soar so high
I think there may be more than ten -
do you see the swifts are here again?
We know it's summer round here when
our favourite bird comes gliding by
You see the swifts are here! Again
they sweep so low and soar so high!


I saw my first swifts of the year today at Musselburgh. Several were flying with swallows and house martins above the River Esk and several more were flying with house martins near Musselburgh Boating Pond. 

As many readers of this blog know, the swift is my favourite bird. It arrives in the UK in May and leaves by the end of August. It spends almost all its life on the wing, only landing to build its nest and lay its eggs. The skies outside our flat are full of swifts at this time of the year, they are wonderfully acrobatic. There are at least ten of them most years (I've not seen any outside our flat yet this year, but it is still early days). 

But swifts are in trouble in the UK. 

You can help them by fitting a swift nest box to your home. Swift Conservation can help you with fitting and maintaining a nestbox, you can find their local experts here.

The RSPB is looking for records of swifts, you can find out how you can help them here.

Concern for Swifts Scotland aims to have swift nest site conservation incorporated into building specifications and to support the inclusion of the swift in Local Biodiversity Action Plans. 
I was also delighted today to hear a grasshopper warbler in the long grass near Musselburgh Boating Pond. I checked with Lothian Birds and they said these warblers are often found here. Definitely the first time I've heard them there though. I'll need to keep my ears even more open than normal then! 
Musselburgh Lagoons are currently being drained for their annual maintenance, but there was still a good variety of birds, including grey partridges, reed buntings and a pink footed goose, sitting in exactly the same place as last time I was there - it looked as though it was nesting, except that it doesn't breed in this country!


eileeninmd said...

It is sad to hear any bird is in trouble. The swifts are cute. I believe I have seen a few swifts lately.. Happy Wednesday!

Lynn said...

I am glad that there is focus on the swifts being endangered. Lovely that you might have a box for them at your home. I don't think I've seen them here in the US.

A Cuban In London said...

Beautiful poem at the beginning. I've seen swifts somewhere but can't remember where. Lovely birds. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

RG said...

That is good to hear of efforts to provide habitat wherever able for Swifts. Swifts here only pass through during migration - but then the tall chimneys from old places are great to watch them go in at night!

We have swallows and your poetry surely captures their motions too.

Caroline Gill said...

So pleased that the Swifts are back ... and we have seen Sand Martins at Minsmere in the bank. What a wonderful poem (triolet, I think), Juliet.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Caroline - yes it's a triolet! Well spotted! I've only seen one or two sand martins so far this year

Crafty Green Poet said...

Eileen - yes, very sad, and swifts are cute.

Lynn - I think people are trying hard to help swifts here these days

Cuban - thanks

Rabbits Guy - yes swallows are simiar in many ways

Gingi said...

We have a lot of endangered birds around here.. it's so sad! :-( -

Bill said...

The joy of the poem underlines the pathos of the post.