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?