May 062011

Thursday 5th May 2011 was polling day, it was a balmy evening with a lovely sunset as a backdrop to stroll down to the local polling station and exercise one’s democratic right. But what made the evening special for me, was the sight and sound of swifts back in our road in Gravesend.

For the next 3 months, we will be treated to frequent evening of screaming, low-flying swifts. Then, once their new families have taken to the skies, they will depart back to Africa, seemingly before most of us start our summer holidays.

The following chart shows the arrival dates recorded over the past 12 years:

Arrival dates for swifts in Gravesend













Have swifts arrived back in your area?  If so, let us know by posting a comment below.

  6 Responses to “Swifts arrive on Polling Day”

Comments (6)
  1. Swifts arrived in Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex on 1st May 2011. Same date as last year! However, this time, only two arrived and then disappeared. By the 4th May, only 5 had arrived.
    It’s now 7th May and we have about 20, so getting back to normal, but has anyone else noted a very slow start to them this year?

    • I have been recording the date of the first arrivals that are clearly hunting and screaming over the street, (as opposed to high fly bys). Unfortunately I do not have notes on how the numbers built-up – but this year we had about six on 5th May and I expect this will increase to about twenty in total. I’ll check again this evening.

  2. Visiting the West Country and today I was birding at Ham Wall RSPB reserve in Somerset. Despte rain this morning there were Swift screaming overhead all day – they are definitely back in force in the West.

  3. Normally at least ten pairs of swifts at my daughter’s house in Longtown herefordshire,so far none at all.Where are they?

  4. I am getting very concerned now about the swifts. I know that the weather has been bad, but the birds that nest in my roof are normally here by the middle of April. They have never missed in over 20 years. I have seen 2 in the sky but not from my nest. I am waiting eagerly.

    • I still have not seen any swifts in our road, but they are about – we saw hundreds at Stodmarsh this weekend and similar numbers the previous week over the lakes at Dungeness – so they are moving in, but must be ‘running late’ this year – perhaps due to the bad weather.