Aug 032015

It’s always harder to note when something stops or is absent, but for the last two evenings the sky has fallen silent – and I realise that the swifts have left. So for me, in my road in Gravesend, the 1st August was the last evening to hear their screaming attics this year.

Swifts are one of the last migrants to arrive on our shores (this year they arrived in my road on the 8th May) and they are one of the first to leave.  Here for less than three months to raise a brood and then fly back to their African homeland, for no doubt our country is just a summer retreat.

The swifts that lived briefly with my neighbours were not the early vanguard, as last month on 9th July I witnessed visual migration while at Dungeness.  Then at around 8:30am I counted more than 30 swifts in less than 3 minutes heading  south over the shingle bank and straight out across the Channel.  I wonder how far ‘my’ swifts have gone by now.

Let me know if you still have swifts flying in your area, or did you note when they left?  And have you seen any visible signs of autumn migration this year?

Paul Yetman

  5 Responses to “They’re gone! Swifts are making their way back home”

Comments (5)
  1. Hi Paul,
    There were 20 plus over Ebbsfleet station late yesterday afternoon plus a similar no of House martins.

  2. Three Swifts over the bus stop at Chalk (Gravesend) today Paul….

    • There will, of course, be sightings of swifts for a few more weeks yet, as they move through our area – but those that made their summer home here have moved out. And, unless you know otherwise, the screaming swifts that I associate with summer evenings are made by parties of swifts around their nesting/roosting sites. Hence those seen in the remaining days of summer are mostly silent. ;-(

  3. Just watching swifts from friends garden in Cromer!

  4. I saw 3 swifts flying over Gravesend this evening. Circling and feeding. They were over my daughter’s house along Valley Drive around 18:00. I’ve never seen Swifts this far into August before.