In last week's article I expressed concern about the decline in the swift population and the fact that they were arriving later than usual.

Then almost as if to reassure me that their world is still working, during an unforgettable and heart warming spell of about five minutes on a late May evening, around sixty swifts suddenly appeared above my garden circling around high trees hawking for insects before slowly drifting away. They were probably young non-breeding birds and a wonderful sight to see.

Reports from across the country tell of the late arrival of our swallows too. At Kingston riverside they are nesting as usual but in slightly reduced numbers.

However, one species that is faring very well this year is the blackbird. My local birds begin their recital about three thirty each morning and carry on singing at intervals throughout the day. Then, just before dusk they pep up their vocalisation.

Because there are so many blackbirds around, they have rather reduced and overlapping territories. One evening I watched two blackbirds in full voice, both at the top of the same tall tree but only about two metres separated them . This was most unusual and something I've never  witnessed before.

Most birds are very territorial and don't tolerate another of the same species infiltrating their space but this year seems very different.

Blackbirds (pictured) may raise two or even three broods during the season. I always ensure my garden is well watered to enable birds to access earthworms in a spell of dry weather.