Following their all too brief three month stay here, swifts will mostly have flown south by the second week in August, although the few that graced the skies in my immediate vicinity left at the end of July.

However, there may be a few stragglers , mainly recently fledged birds that fly a little later. In any event, swifts have been extremely scarce this year and from my observations, I believe the overall population decline is escalating rapidly.

I'm always sad to see them go for two reasons. Firstly, I miss their vocal aerobatics and secondly, their departure signals that  summer is on the wane. 

One  bird whose population is rising rapidly is the colourful goldfinch (pictured) and it is thought that this may be due to more and more people feeding birds in their gardens and goldfinches are avid feeders of sunflower hearts and nyger seeds. Blackbirds too enjoyed a good nesting season with many fledglings being fed by their parents in our gardens. Sadly, song thrushes are very scarce this summer.

Now that the moulting season is in full swing I miss my local blackbird's early morning serenade .

Two species we are seeing more of are magpies and jays but they are not welcome visitors as both can be serious predators of eggs and young birds.