Monday 27 June 2016

Entrances cast in situ

When Barbara Wager, of Thorpe in Derbyshire, contacted us about how to provide Swift accommodation in a stone wall, we discussed various ideas, ending up with making entrances by casting them in situ.

This is a small-scale rerun of the Alcázar of Segovia project, where we, AfS provided formers, and the rest was done on site. In this case, the wall is 2 feet thick. The entrance leads to a natural cavity in the stonework, without any need for a nest box. The cavity is sealed with a board.

These pictures explain exactly how it was done:

2 formers
2 formers embedded in mortar

With formers removed, 2 entrance holes

A view from inside the building, with former still in place

2 neat entrances in the gable

Monday 20 June 2016

Santon Downham Church

St Mary the Virgin, Santon Downham, in Suffolk is in a very attractive setting on the edge of the village green

[UPDATE July 2019 Increase to 5 breeding pairs this year from 3 pairs last year. ]

It also has the easiest belfry that we have seen for installing Swift boxes. There is even a solid floor to stand on while working on the boxes!

In the lower half of the picture, left, it can be seen that the louvres are flush with the sides. This makes it very straightforward to screw the boxes to the sides.

Bill Landells has done an excellent job installing 18 boxes in 6 cabinets on 2 sides of the belfry, 3 on each side. All with access doors for inspection.

There is the potential for 2 odd-shaped boxes above the top cabinet. As Swifts always seem to go for the tops of the louvres first, this may be something worth pursuing in the future.

St Mary the Virgin, Santon Downham

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Swift boxes on a thatched cottage gable

There are no new ideas here, but it demonstrates that, with a little thought, Swift boxes can fit in well with the appearance of a pretty village cottage.

[UPDATE August 2016 - one pair seems to be established in the bottom right box]

Great Wilbraham is an attractive village just 2 miles from Fulbourn, the home of one of the largest and most successful Swift nest boxing projects in the UK. Great Wilbraham itself also has a healthy population of Swifts.

The design, with 5 nest chambers, is another version of these designs (Elsworth, Reach)



Sunday 12 June 2016

Swift Action Harleston - Swift mobile

We were delighted to receive this story from Harleston in Norfolk. The local group, Swift Action Harleston has come up with a great idea that could be replicated anywhere.

The mobile was produced from hundreds of cut-out Swift shapes by pupils at Harleston Primary School. Each Swift is decorated with a design based on the colours of the flags of the Southern European or African countries through which the Swifts fly on migration and carries an individual message to the Swifts from the pupil that made it.

The pictures below show close ups of  some of the designs in the mobile which are all being combined and turned into flags for display in the town.

One of the delightful messages reads:
"Dear Swifts ... never give up, never give up. If the weather knocks you down, get back up, never give up, you can do it. Please don't die."

Isn't that nice, and here are some pictures of their spectacular mobile:

Year 8 students at Archbishop Sancroft High School, designed and printed their own swift flags for display in Harleston town centre.

Harleston Box Brigade, with some of their productions