Thursday 8 December 2016

SLN meeting Bristol November 2016

On 19th November, around 60 SLN members met at Bristol Zoo to hear about some of the latest developments in the world of swift conservation and – just as importantly – to meet each other.

Photo Bristol Zoo
Carol Collins chaired the meeting.

The morning kicked  off with Edward Mayer on Engaging Local Councils and Stephen Fitt on Developments in the Southwest.

Following lunch, we had Edward Jackson on Suffolk Swifts - our first 2 years, Dick Newell & Tim Collins on Nest Box Design and Jan Stannard on Building local interest through social media.

Finally we had 3 short talks: Peta Sams - News of Caring for God’s Acre’s New Project, Chris Mason - Oxford’s Swift City Project and Steph Morren – The RSPB Swift Survey and an update on the Swift Cities Project.

Notes and presentations have been assembled here:
If you want to get in touch directly with any of the speakers, contact details are on the agenda.

Jane & Mark Glanville. Photo Jon Perry

Peta Sams did a great job pulling this all together and we are very grateful to Bristol Zoo trustees for allowing us to use the Education Centre and its great facilities and we thank Jane and Mark Glanville and zoo staff for ensuring the day ran smoothly.

Some people are already talking about a 2017 meeting so if you have any thoughts do share them with the rest of SLN.

Friday 2 December 2016

Belfry cabinets without screws

We have recently looked at a belfry in Suffolk where there is no way of attaching nestboxes directly to the church fabric. Normally one can either screw the boxes to wooden louvre frames, or by screws into joints between masonry blocks. Screws into the masonry would require a faculty.

The church in question has flint and lime mortar walls, so it would not be sensible to attempt screws into the walls, even if permission was granted. The louvres do not have a frame adequate for supporting nest boxes. 

So, if this project goes ahead we plan to use a system that was first used in Holy Trinity, Haddenham over 10 years ago. Holy Trinity is on a hill and has slate louvre blades 350mm apart.

The church architect has kindly provided a PDF of this installation, which was approved by the DAC.
Download the PDF to see detail
We thought it worth publishing this now, as there will be many belfries suitable for swift boxes with this particular challenge.

The key idea is that the sides of the openings (the reveals) are lined with 25mm WBP plywood which is braced with 20mm diameter galvanised threaded steel rods fitted with locking nuts and pressure plates. Then the boxes are screwed to the plywood.

Any tapering or unevenness of the reveals can be filled with suitable softwood wedges.

The picture left shows the particular belfry we are considering and some outline computer models of what we might do:

Click on image to enlarge