A WEEK WITH... the sky would not be complete without - swifts. The essence of summer air, with their displays of flying and distinctive scream, they are one of our latest migrant arrivals and one of the first to leave.
The pictures here are Jonathan Pomroy's.
Swifts are amazing: the only bird to leap from it's nest as a swiftling (not a real word) and not land until it is ready to breed 1 or 2 years later - they are truly creatures of the sky -as near to air fish as we have!
Not only are they sprinters - flying straight up at 60mph - they are also fast over long distances - known to be able to fly over 800 miles (Oxford to Madrid) in 3 days!
I hope you see some whilst you are looking at the sky.
There is often confusion between the different common bird species that eat air plankton straight out of the sky: swifts, swallows and martins. Try out these statements - they might help with your id:
I can see it's nest - it's not a swift
It is screaming - it's a swift!
It has a deeply forked tail - it's not a swift
It has a white tummy - it's not a swift
It looks like a boomerang with a body - it's a swift!
Their flying is like an aerial display - it's a swift!
It's sitting on a wire - it's not a swift
It's dark all over - it's a swift!
It's twittering - it's not a swift
It is really high up in the sky - it's a swift!
Anne Stevenson's poem captures the essence of swift for me: