Brief updates on what is happening in the world of Swifts!
12th October 2021
To coincide with the COP26 talks, Lewes Climate Hub, (of which we are an affiliated member), has organised a range of interesting events, displays and talks about climate and environment related issues. They will be held in the Studio at Depot Cinema from 1st to 12th November, (excluding 5th November), from 3.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. Lewes Swift Supporters will be there to take part in the Biodiversity Day on Tuesday 9th November - and we would love to see you! Come along to find out more about how to help Swifts or to talk to us about how we might help you to install your own Swift nest box!
You can find out more about the programme for the fortnight here: COP with the Climate Hub at Lewes Depot
9th September 2021
Reports of sightings of Swifts have continue to roll in throughout August and the beginning of September!
We are looking forward to seeing you at the Planet Party on Sunday, 19th September, at the Railway Land from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m., where we will be on the Biodiversity Stall.
We will be selling our new enamel Lewes Swift Supporter badges! We are asking for a minimum donation of £5 and any profits will be used to fund more Swift nest boxes in Lewes!
12th August 2021
The Swift season is all but over now, but we have seen some very late nest activity! For example, Audrey and Nick Jarvis saw two nest entries and exits in Western Road on 9th August, 6 days later than the last sightings in 2019 and 2020!
The winner of our Swift poster competition, launched during Swift Awareness Week, has now been chosen. I am sure that you will agree that it is a beautiful design!
Poster competition winner, by S. Thzyakshwa, age 10
5th August 2021
At least 3 Swift nests still active at St. Anne's Church and 3 more in upper Western Road! In 2019 and 2020, we saw our last nest entry on 3rd August so this seems like a bonus!
At the nest box in De Montfort Road which was installed about 25 years ago, at least one of the chicks is still in residence - we can see it peeping out of the entrance every evening and on 2nd August there were two little faces there!
Photograph by Nick Jarvis
26th July 2021
Amazing news - surveyor and recorder Kevin has confirmed an eighth nest at The Maltings! Our 2021 total is now 76 active nests!
Photograph by Kevin Murphy, marked to show the locations of the eight nests at The Maltings
On Thursday 22nd July, we completed our project of buying and installing 25 nest boxes in the "hot spots" of Western Road, De Montfort Road and nearby houses to expand the thriving colonies there. We also installed four nest boxes for other residents who had purchased their own box. Adding together the LSS-funded boxes and those that residents have put up with our advice and support and we have provided 75 new nest boxes in Lewes! Since one of the factors that led to a decline in numbers of Swifts is a lack of suitable nest spaces, we very much hope this this will make a positive difference!
Photographs by Audrey Jarvis of some of the LSS- funded nest boxes in Western Road and De Montfort Road
22nd July 2021
Our Surveyors have now recorded seven active nests at the rear of the Flea Market and a second nest in Potter's Lane - bringing our 2021 total to 75 active nests!
Rear of the Flea Market, marked to show the nest entrances by Kevin Murphy and Mike Ramsey
20th July 2021
With a seventh nest discovered at The Maltings, our total number of active nests rises to 73!
Keep your eyes open for parent Swifts visiting the nests during the day to feed their hungry chicks!
Photograph by Barry Griffin of one of the Swifts in a fly past of St. Anne's Church
15th July 2021
As predicted, July has been a great month for watching Swifts so far! With the young birds returning to look for their "home" colony or to prospect for a nest site and mate for nest year, we have seen an increase in both Swift numbers and nest visits! Reports from our Surveyors and Swift Watchers of a further nest in Bridgewick Close, a newly-discovered nest in Potter's Lane, a third nest in King Henry's Road, and the excitement of at least one nest at a new site at the rear of the High Street brings out 2021 total to 72 occupied nests!
Photograph by Debs Kemp of one of the Swifts entering under the eaves of her home!
10th July 2021
Swift Awareness Week has almost finished and, probably thanks to some better weather at times, we have had some sightings of larger groups of Swifts in dazzling displays across the town. We have also recorded 2 extra nests - a fourth one in Valence Road and the twelfth one at St. Anne's Church - which brings our 2021 total to 66 nests!
We have launched our poster competition for children and young people, (closing date 3rd August 2021), in celebration of Swift Awareness Week. See the Swift Awareness Week page on this website for more details. We are very grateful to Sussex Wildlife Trust and Lewes Climate Hub for their publicity on our behalf.
On Tuesday 6th July, we met with other LSS Surveyors for a "get-together" and an interesting walk around the town visiting different colonies. We were lucky enough to see Swifts entering or leaving their nests at the rear of the Flea Market, The Maltings and in upper Western Road!
Some of our Surveyors. learning about the Swift colony at The Maltings
4th July 2021
Photograph from Douglas Dodds of a Swift flying past from the nests in Grange Road.
The recent reports from Surveyors and Swift Watchers reveal yet more nests in Lewes! A third nest in The Avenue, the eleventh nest at St. Anne's Church and two more at the rear of The Flea Market brings our 2021 total to 64 active nests! Although the individual nests confirmed are not all at the same site, this total equals our end of year total for 2020!
1st July 2021
July is here - possibly the best time for spotting Swifts! The parent Swifts will be visiting their nests more frequently to feed their chicks and the one-year-old Swifts are returning to plan their futures by finding out where all the Swift colonies are. With one more nest at the rear of a house on the South side of the High Street, another nest re-visited this year on the North side, and an eleventh nest at St. Anne's Church our total number of active nests is now 61!
25th June 2021
Catherine, resident of The Avenue, has reported an active nest under the eaves of her home and her neighbours' house - and we saw a Swift leaving one of these nests on a walk around the Wallands last night! With another active nest now identified at Bridgewick Close, Malling, and one more in St. Martin's Lane, that brings our 2021 total to 58 active nests!
17th June 2021
Swift activity really picked up on the 13th and 14th June with reports from Lewes Swift Surveyors and Supporters leading to a new total of 54 active nests across Lewes! One of the newly reported nests is at Westfield House, opposite County Hall, thanks to the sharp eyes of our Supporter, Piers and the second of two nests at Anne of Cleves' House was revealed to us by Swift Watcher, Davina!
On a visit to Harvard Close, Malling, to advise a resident about installing a nest box, Nick and Audrey Jarvis saw spectacular aerial displays of up to 12 Swifts swooping just above and below head height for half an hour! They were banging at the eaves of one house and even poking their heads into a small hole there! A little further on, in Old Malling Way, there were screaming fly-pasts and banging at the walls of some of the flats too.
Swifts at Harvard Close 15th June 2020, Audrey Jarvis
10th June 2021
We spent the afternoon helping Dave Boddington, (@birdingbodds), to install four new Swift boxes for Lewes Swift Supporters.
This brings the total number of new boxes installed since last season with our help, (and with our funding if the residents lives in a Swift Hot Spot), to 66 boxes. Some of the boxes are doubles, so that means that we have provided an additional 86 nest spaces to help our Swifts to thrive!
Photographs showing Dave Boddington and Nick Jarvis installing the Swift boxes, by Audrey Jarvis
World Swift Day 2021
World Swift Day is on 7th June 2021!
Fantastic news just in time to celebrate World Swift Day! Two more active nests in De Montfort Road and two more in Southover High Street! One of the nests in Southover is is a new Swift nest box installed after last season - the first successful take-up of a new Swift box - and very encouraging to the rest of us!
This brings our total number of nests for 2021 to 37!
If you are able to display this poster, (click on the link below), it could help Swifts by making more people aware of them?!
2nd June 2021
The second wave of younger Swifts, looking for a nest site where they can breed for the first time, seems to have arrived in Lewes! We now have found 32 active nest sites across the whole town! Thank you and well done to our surveyors and to all the Supporters who have sent in their sightings. The current findings are:
- Western Road - 5 nests
- St. Anne's Church - 9 nests
- Valence Road - 2 nests
- High Street - 4 nests
- Grange Road - 1 nest
- Bridgewick Close - 1 nest
- Market Lane - 2 nests
- Southover High Street - 1 nest
- King Henry's Road - 1 nest
- Station Street - 1 nest
- The Maltings - 1 nest
- Market Street - 1 nest
- East Street - 1 nest
- St. Martin's Lane - at least 2 nests
Photograph of the High Street Swifts by Debs Kemp
27th May 2021
Between us, the surveyors for Lewes Swift Supporters have now recorded 25 active Swift nests this year! There is still a long way to go before we match our 2020 total of 64 active nests but, after such an erratic start to the season with all the changes in weather, every return or new nest is especially thrilling!
There is more good news for Lewes Swifts with the provision of nine new nest spaces at the rear of the All Saints Centre. Fiona Dennis, Lewes Swift Supporter, had collected several Swift boxes and was hoping to have them installed at the rear of Friars Walk. After a visit from us she discovered this was not the best site to allow the Swifts to have a clear approach because of the trees and wires, so we looked at the nearby All Saints Centre instead and found good sites for them all. All Saints kindly agreed to this placement - and now they are all installed!
Four double nest boxes and one single nest box - spaces for nine Swift families!
Another exciting discovery of a new nest site by Mike Ramsey, LSS Chairperson, at the rear of the Flea Market! We had not seen them here before but, in 2000, Mike Helps recorded 10 pairs of Swifts nesting here. We hope that a new population has returned!
A newly-discovered nest site in East Street, thanks to the sharp eyes of Maria Antoniou!
10th May 2021
Another fantastic report from Douglas Dodds!
"Struck lucky walking past Anne of Cleves' House a t 3.30 p.m. Saw six or seven Swifts flying low above the house so we rushed round to the front. Within minutes, at least two Swifts approached the nest at the main entrance. Managed to grab a photograph of one just as it was about to land!"
8th May 2021
An exciting report from Douglas Dodds about returning Swifts to his nests in Grange Road:
Hooray - we’ve just watched a single swift repeatedly flying low above our heads, circling around the garden again and again. Every few circuits, it would briefly touch the tiles below the nest entrance, then fly off again. Sometimes it was just a few feet above us - a great sight! We haven’t seen it go inside the nest yet, but hopefully it will soon...
Six Swifts were seen by Audrey Jarvis around St. Anne's Church at 3.40 p.m., circling as singles and in pairs. Neil Merchant observed 8-10 Swifts quite high above Malling Deanery about 3.30 p.m and Emma Allen saw four Swifts flying low over Harvard Close, Malling at 8.30 p.m!
7th May 2021
In their Swift survey yesterday evening, Audrey and Nick Jarvis recorded two Swifts returning to nests which were active last year - one to the colony at St. Anne's Church, Western Road and another to the colony at a home in upper Western Road! Welcome back, Swifts!
Sarah Jay shared her photograph of the Swift she saw flying over Malling Brooks yesterday - what a beauty!
6th May 2021
- A pair of Swifts flying over Baxter's Field, reported by Mike Ellicock at 8.30 a.m.
- Six Swifts feeding over the bottom of Lewes, gradually moving South - seen from Harvey's Brewery at 9.55 a.m. by Joe Tubb.
- Three Swifts circling over Baxter's Fields and the end of De Montfort Road at 10.15 a.m. and reported by Nick and Audrey Jarvis.
5th May 2021: First report of Swifts returning to nest!
- Sharon Hall in King Henry's Road has sent us this photograph from her nest cam - showing a Swift back in the same nesting place in her attic where she saw one last year! It arrived back on the evening of 5th May.
- Briony Lambert reported another nest entry at the known colony in Western Road at 6.07 p.m. on 5th May!
26th April 2021: First Swift sightings in Lewes!
- At 7.45 p.m. on 26th April we saw our first Swift flying above the old Police Garages and the top end of De Montfort Road. Photographic evidence supplied - for those with a magnifying glass! Nick and Audrey Jarvis
- We saw our first Swift near the Racecourse yesterday, 26th April, Mark Pearson
- I was walking back from Mount Harry towards Lewes on Sunday morning, (25th April), about 11.00 a.m. when I believe I saw a Swift flying low over the field to my right. I also saw a couple of Swallows at the same time. There was only one Swift. It was very bright and sunny. Steve Matthews
Visit our Swift Watch page on this website to find out more about how to submit your sightings of Swifts!
8th April 2021: 17 new homes for Swifts in Lewes!
Today we helped Dave Boddington, (@birding bods), to install Swift nest boxes at nine homes in Lewes: 4 double boxes and 6 single boxes altogether. Tomorrow he is installing one more double and one single. This will bring the total number of new Swift boxes installed since May 2019, following advice from Lewes Swift Supporters, to 41 single boxes, 15 double boxes and one Apex box! Seventeen of these boxes, plus Swift callers and installation costs, have been funded by Lewes Swift Supporters - thanks to grant funding from Sussex Ornithological Society, Friends of Lewes, Chalk Cliff Trust and Sussex Police.
19th March 2021: First Swift of Spring!
News via "All Swifts UK" from Rare Bird Alert - the first Swift of Spring was reported going past St. Catherine's Point on the Isle of Wight. This is 10 days earlier than the median first report date! Last year our first sighting in Lewes was on the 22nd April - they are on their way!
Photograph of Swift by Amir Ben Dov, by kind permission of swift-conservation.org