Blogger: Erica Howe, Communications Manager

This morning was one of the first morning’s i haven’t heard them in weeks. I live in a city centre, the heart of the action with houses crammed in wall to wall and although it’s a busy place to live, it’s not our neighbours who have been making all of the noise! For the last few weeks, i have been going to bed and waking up to the sound of the screaming swifts playfully darting above our roof tops. They sound like fireworks going off as they all come streaking past my window.

But their absence this morning reminded me that they won’t be in the country for much longer. As we near the end of August and our summer starts the cool journey into autumn where the leaves turn a vibrant shade of red, these hardy little creatures will start their journey down south across the African deserts for the winter. To be honest, i’m a little bit jealous! What is there to dislike about spending spring and summer in England and then cruising over to another continent for the some winter sun?

Having said that, It’s no easy ride taking the flight over there. They have to refuel on the wing, even sleep whilst flying and then who knows what greets them when they arrive. Will their habitat still be there, will there be any water or food? I certainly wouldn’t go on holiday if my hotel had been destroyed and there was nowhere to stay!  Migration is an intriguing concept, one of the many wonders of the natural world.

The BTO issued a media release yesterday that highlighted some of the lucky species that seem to be doing rather well despite such a tough commute. Sadly and as is now often the way, there is another side to the coin. Some of our more nostalgic summer visitors are in big trouble. Population declines are happening in devastating numbers and we still don’t really know the whole picture.

For now, I will enjoy and take great pleasure in hearing the swifts soar above my house and i will keep my fingers crossed that they are still abundant next April.