Saturday 22 June 2019

An example of how traditional nest sites were preserved during a building renovation project

This is an excellent case study of what can be achieved to preserve and create Swift nest sites in a sensitive situation Many thanks to Lynda Huxley, Swift Conservation Ireland for forwarding.

Lyon's Mill - click to enlarge
Lyons Mill is a landmark historical building in Finisklin in Sligo located just off the town bypass. It is a four-storey mill/warehouse finished in beautiful cut limestone, completed about 1820.

With the decision to build a new LIDL on the site, came the exciting news that the entire Mill building would also be refurbished as part of the project (the new LIDL has been built to the rear of the Lyons Mill site.

The sharp-eyed Will Woodrow of Woodrow Environmental Solutions realised there were Swift nest sites in the building, and a multi-agency collaboration to preserve and improve Swift breeding sites swung into action.

Half-brick nest site entrances were obtained by Swift Conservation Ireland from Action for Swifts in the UK. These half bricks were inserted where ‘traditional’ nest sites were thought to exist and additional ones inserted which means that around 30 Swift nests can now be hosted in the refurbished Mill, a really wonderful outcome. In addition a water proof speaker was inset near the nest site entrances and attraction calls will be played from May to July each year.

Access points and suitable cavities for bats have also been retained.

2 entrances and a built in speaker for attraction calls
If you look hard enough, you can see 3 entrances
The entrances are cast with a 50:50 sand/cement mixture
Sincere thanks to all of the people and organisations who came together to make this happen, in alphabetical order:

Barbara McInerney (Bat Consultant)
BirdWatch Sligo (Micheal Casey)
Carrick Conservation Architects
LIDL Ireland
McCabe Architects (Gary)
McCallion Construction (esp Paul)
National Parks & Wildlife Service (Miriam Crowley)
Sligo Co Council (Siobhán Ryan, Heritage Officer)
Swift Conservation Ireland (Lynda Huxley)

Action for Swifts (Dick Newell)
Woodrow Environmental Solutions (Will Woodrow)

Friday 21 June 2019

Swift Mapper

It has been many years since Geoff Beale set up UK-Swifts to record the locations where swifts breed. Geoff's efforts were taken over by the RSPB and became the Swift Inventory in 2009. Since then a number of other inventory systems have been implemented by local groups and the RSPB system has recently undergone a revamp. All of these systems take their input online and have had a number of differences between them. Now there is a major step forward:

First, there is a new system, Swift Mapper, which is a mobile App from Natural Apptitude

Second, a concerted effort has been made to iron out inconsistencies between the various systems so that data transfer between them is straight forward.

Swift Mapper is a very well put together system, and is a very convenient option for inputing Swift breeding data. In essence Swift Mapper can be a data capture portal to these other online systems.

People who maintain other systems can be given access to Coreo, the data management system underpinning Swift Mapper, to download data for input to their own systems.

Swift Mapper has been live for some time and is working very well. The purpose of this post is to give it a push as we think it could transform the capture of Swift breeding data.

The Android version is available here:
The iOS version is available here: