December - installing more Swift boxes and House Martin cups

On 6th December we had a fine but cold day for installing more Swift nest boxes and House Martin cups. Thanks as always to Dave Boddington for his installation skills.

   7 Wallands Park   box box  21 Sun Street

    Four Swift boxes in Wallands Park Rise, Gundreda Road, Godfrey Close and Sun Street


      cup       cup      cups

            One single and one double House Martin cup in St. John's Terrace and one double HM cup in Morris Road                                          

August round-up

At the beginning of August all our surveyors and Swift Watchers began to notice that there were fewer Swifts flying around Lewes but we still had parent birds returning to nests at St. Anne's Church, Western Road, The Maltings and St. Swithun's Terrace. 

All the Swifts had left the church by 7th August, which was much earlier than last year, when one pair kept returning until 5th September! 

This year, the final pair of Swifts were at the top of St. Swithun's Terrace, where they returned until 24th August.

Our final total for 2023 is 83 nests.

31st July

With mixed weather over the past few days, Swift sightings have been erratic so it has been difficult to determine which nests are still active. Tonight the weather was warmer and calmer so Audrey and Nick saw returns to one nest at St. Anne's Church and three of the nests at 98 Western Road. Further down the town, Kevin reported that the Swifts are still in residence in St. Martin's Lane and that he had seen three entries to the nests at the top of St. Swithun's Terrace. 

14th July 2023

We think that the Swift chick in the nest at King Henry's Road has fledged! The nest cam has registered "no motion detected" since 8.30 a.m. this morning. At 7.22 a.m., the camera recorded a picture of the chick looking out of the nest entrance, just as they are supposed to do before fledging. We wish it a safe journey to Africa and hope it returns to Lewes in the future!

Here are some photographs from yesterday and today to remember it by!

Swift chick 2 13.7.23   2 Swifts  Swift at entrance


12th July 2023

Yesterday we had news of a third nest in King Henry's Road - which brings our total for 2023 to 78 nests! The nest cam is back in action at nest 1 in King Henry's Road and we are able to see just how much the chick has grown!

Swift cam 11.7.23

9th July 2023

We all very much enjoyed our three Swift walks to celebrate Swift Awareness Week. Twenty-four people took part and we were very lucky with the weather - and everyone was able to see Swifts entering one of the nest spaces under the eaves.


1st July 2023

Swift Awareness week begins today! We've now recorded 73 Swift nests!

We celebrated with our first Lewes Swift Walk of the season.

Swift walk 1a       Swift Walk 1b

Sussex Wildlife Trust are also celebrating Swifts. They published our blog "5 ways to help Swifts".

5 Ways to Help Swifts

17th June 2023

We have now recorded 69 nests in Lewes!

Meanwhile, in the nest in the attic in King Henry's Road, one of the Swift eggs has hatched. The chick first appeared on 8th June but we weren't able to get a clear view of it until this morning. Here it is, as nine days old!

Swift chick     Swift chick and parent


12th June 2023

We are now up to 64 recorded nests!

Last month, Audrey and Nick Jarvis met with Jonathan Guthrie, who writes a nature column for the Financial Times. He was researching an article about Swifts and Swallows so they invited him to join them on their Swift survey. When the article was published he sent us a copy, and he has given us permission to share it here.

Article by Jonathan Guthrie

7th June 2023

Happy World Swift Day!

World Swift Day

Keep your eyes to the skies because parent Swifts will now be returning to their nests during the day to feed their newly-hatched chicks! We saw one enter under the eaves in De Montfort Road at 11.45 a.m. today.

As the second wave of Swifts begins, (or the long drawn-our first wave continues), we have recorded new nests around Lewes to increase our total number to 59! 

31st May 2023

After a bumper few evenings the number of recorded nests has risen to 49 - much higher than at this time last year!

Kevin's graph shows a comparison of the numbers of recorded nests over the past few years.

Comparison of sites to May

Key: 2020 is blue, 2021 is red, 2022 is yellow and the green is 2023


22nd May 2023

We have seen a lot more Swift action over the past week which we think is the end of the first wave of Swifts - the experienced breeders. We have seen screaming parties of up to 10 Swifts and the number of nests recorded is now 36!

This is where we have seen the nests:

  • Upper Western Road - 5 nests
  • St. Anne's Church - 4 nests
  • Valence Road - 2 nests
  • St. Swithun's Terrace - 3 nests
  • The Maltings - 5 nests
  • Market Lane - 1 nest
  • Gallows Bank - 1 nest
  • King Henry's Road - 1 nest
  • St. Martin's Lane - 1 nest
  • Station Street - 4 nests
  • De Montfort Road - 2 nests, (one in a box)
  • Bridgewick Close - 1 nest
  • Southover High Street - 3 nests, (two in a double box)
  • Flea Market - 1 nest
  • The Avenue - 2 nests

98 Western Road 5

Five nests in upper Western Road


15th May 2023

The total number of nests recorded this year is now 17!

Last night, two more nest entrances were spotted at The Maltings, a second nest at St. Anne's Church, and a Supporter reported a nest entry at the corner of Antioch Street which we have never seen before!

Nest 2 close up

Close-up view of nest 2 at St. Anne's Church - the entrance is between the two purlings marked with a red dot.


14th May 2023

This morning we saw a second egg in the Swift nest in King Henry's Road!

second egg

After our surveys last night, we have now recorded 13 nests in Lewes:

  • Western Road - 1
  • St. Anne's Church - 1
  • Valence Road -1
  • rear High Street, (top of St. Swithun's Terrace) - 3
  • The Maltings - 1
  • Gallows Bank - 1
  • King Henry's Road - 1
  • St, Martin's Lane - 1
  • De Montfort Road - 2
  • Station Street - 1

Thanks to all the surveyors and Swift Watchers who contributed to these records!

12th May 2023

We saw the first Swift egg in the nest at King Henry's Road this morning! This afternoon, one of the Swifts is incubating it.

       Swift egg 1     Swift incubating


7th May 2023

So far this year, we have recorded six active nests in Lewes.

On Sunday 30th April, one Swift returned to the nest in King Henry's Road where we have installed a nest cam, and it was joined by a second Swift on Thursday 4th May. Later that evening, we saw the first Swift return to the known nest site in Valence Road.

nest cam 1

                                         First Swift returned to King Henry's Road, 30.4.23

On Friday 5th May, we were delighted to see a Swift zoom up to one of the nest spaces at 98 Western Road, then we heard that three of the nest spaces at the top of St. Swithun's Road were now occupied too!

                   28 Valence Road 1      98 Western Road 1

                        Under the fascia board in Valence Road and under the eaves at 98 Western Road


29th April 2023

Yesterday, we recorded our first Swifts of the season in Lewes! We saw this as a good omen for our special Swift Day at Lewes Climate Hub - and we were right! We had a record-breaking 102 visitors over the day! We have signed up lots of new members, some new surveyors and received several nest box requests too. 

It was wonderful to see everyone - and thank you for adding your Swifts to our collage and your thoughts about Swifts to our word wall. It looks terrific!

Thank you to Western Road School for joining us with their excellent Swift cards and badges!

Swift Day 1    Swift Day 2   Swift Day 3

                         Swift Day 4           Swift Day 5

                                                    Photographs of our Swift day at Lewes Climate Hub

17th April 2023

We have spent two mornings making new nest spaces for Swifts in the loft of our treasurer! We adjusted the nest cam next to the existing nest entrance which has been used by Swifts for several years, then we made seven more potential entrances nearby. Last of all, we installed lengths of ply wood to make a cabinet-style row of boxes to restrict light from the Velux window. 

Two Swifts fledged successfully  from this nest int 2022, so we hope for more breeding Swifts there in the future!

                                      camera        New hole

                                                     Nest cam                      One of the new entrances

finished cabinets

                                                               The finished cabinets

11th April 2023

Today Dave Boddington, (Swift Champion for Sussex Ornithological Society), came to Lewes again to help us to install nine more Swift boxes!

First we went to Western Road Primary School to meet Rea Hamilton, Deputy Headteacher, and install the three double Peak Swift boxes. Her pupils had raised the funds to buy the boxes through selling beautiful cards and badges made from their art work. The Swifts feed over the school playing fields in the summer, so we hope they notice the boxes and hear the caller!

Next we went to Manor Terrace, where we installed four single Peak Swift boxes. These have a good chance of being taken by Swifts because they are very near to the known nests in Potter's Lane and Southover High Street.

After a visit to Priory Street to install a Middleton box for a homeowner there, we went to the Lewes Arms to put up the last box for the day. It is close to several known nests along the eaves of The Maltings.

                Western Road School                       4 Manor Terrace 

                       Western Road School                                  One of the boxes in Manor Terrace

 Priory Street

                                                                     Priory Street

18th March 2023

Today members of Lewes Swift Supporters took part in the procession through Lewes to celebrate the opening of Lewes Climate Hub in new premises at Lewes House, 32 High Street. We are proud to be a partner group of the Climate Hub and we will be hosting a Swift display there on Saturday 29th March, from 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. Do come and see us! 

The Climate Hub will be open every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. You can find out more at Lewes Climate Hub.

       LCH opening 1    LCH opening 2   LCH opening 3

10th February 2023

On 10th February we met up with Dave Boddington again to install the first new Swift nest boxes for 2023 with two single Peak boxes in Wallands and Winterbourne. We also moved the three exisitng Swift boxes at St. Pancras School to a higher position, so that they are now above the top of the fence around the playground.

 St Pancras School               2 Hillyfield            5 Wallands PR        

4th February 2023

Congratulations to Western Road Community Primary School on their stall at Seedy Saturday on 4th February! Their beautiful art work was made into badges and cards and the sales raised enough funds to buy three double Peak nest boxes which we will install at their school, with a Swift calling system!

                       2 cards         badges