Saturday, 14 July 2012

Swift Response Unit

After the early morning success at the Dyfi Osprey Project I headed out with Jane and Andre Marsh to check a Kestrel nest that Red Liford had had 4 small chicks in about 10 days ago. Not surprisingly given the weather recently, the box was empty apart from a load of sodden pellets. Checked a Barn Owl nest yesterday that had 4 small young in late June and the same result although at another site in a nearby barn there were two healthy young already venturing forth.

Fed up with checking empty nest boxes we then tried, unsuccessfully, to net swifts exiting their nest sites in the roof of a garage in Pontrhydfendigaid - did cause a bit of local amusement for a while though! Thankfully a visit to Cors Caron was a bit more successful and 16 of about 70 odd swifts were "flick-netted" as they fed low over the bog.

It is commonly believed that swifts can't take off from the ground, even though they can it is best to release them by giving them a bit of a helping hand.

If you are of a nervous disposition look away now!

The downside to ringing swifts is that you are often left with a few unwanted quests! The Swift Louse Fly is pretty adept at running up your sleeve when you're not looking and lurking around in unwelcome places! Two of the birds caught yesterday had 5 Louse Flies each but I have taken as many as 16 off one bird!

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