It might look a bit boring without pictures, but it loads a lot faster of course as I made so many pictures and videos in time. Those are collected here on the Swift pictures & videos section, but are also linked in the diary below so you don't have to search for the picture or video correspoding with the text you're reading.
The diary is about what happens at our house mostly, but there are also some entries about Swifts I see in other places

  • April 30th 2008
With great help from Lisette's brother Wouter, I installed the two nestboxes onto the wall right below the gutter. The left one (as seen from the street) contains the speaker. Both boxes also contain some nesting material (straws, feathers, hairs and some willow seed fluff). A picture can be found here in the Swift pictures & videos section.

  • May 24th 2008
I noticed a response to the Swift calls for the first time. I'm not sure about the date at which I started playing the calls, I probably started soon after the boxes were up on the wall. At around 9:15 in the morning I noticed two Swifts flying pretty low above the trees behind our house. I quickly turned on the cd-player and went over to the front window. The Swifts came down even lower, to about the height at which the boxes are located, flew a couple of circles around/above the house and left again.

  • May 25th 2008
I noticed a second response to the Swift calls. I'd been playing the cd with calls all evening, watching the sky above from a chair behind the front window. I went to the kitchen for a minute, and of course, that's just when something happened. When I got back, I just noticed a single Swift flying straight toward the gutter and passing over the roof.
Later that evening, after I'd turned off the cd, at about 21:15, I noticed Swift calls. I went over to the front window and saw two Swifts circling around the house at very low altitude. They circled around in the dusk a couple of times, calling out short scraping calls. I couldn't provide them with a response in time unfortunately, that might've been even more interesting.

  • May 27th 2008
Three Swifts came down for a couple of low passes as I was playing the cd.

  • May 28th 2008
Just past 12 in the afternoon, a group of 5 Swifts passed over our house screaming. I'd been playing the cd 'till about 10 minutes before that, perhaps a belated response?

  • may 29th 2008
Three screaming Swifts passed our house at low altitude, at 7:30. At about 18:30 two Swifts showed interest in the calls. They came down and started flying around the house, sometimes very close to the nest boxes, often calling back at the cd-calls. After a short while, a third Swifts joined in. These three continued flying around for minutes! After that, a group of about four more joined in. It was really chaotic and stunning, all these Swifts flying around low through the street and calling. After a while, most Swifts left. One kept flying around though, often coming up to the gutter as if it would fly into one of the boxes. Insted, it flew up to the gutter where the drainpipe is attached, at our neighbour's side (see also the picture of the nest boxes above). After flying up around the boxes a couple of times, this single Swift left as well.
Later that same evening, two Swifts came back for more. I made a short movie of them with my photocamera, which can be found here in the Swift pictures & videos section.

  • May 30th 2008
Two Swifts came flying around the boxes again, for a short time in the morning. Later (about 10:00 AM) a single Swift came and flew up toward the boxes like the day before. It checked out the drianpipe again, but also the wall on the other side of the boxes. It hooked onto the wall beside the window for a second. (the window on the right on the picture of the nestboxes a bit back)

  • May 31st 2008
Three Swifts flew by at low altitude, screaming.

  • June 1st 2008
At 21:00, several Swifts passed at low altitude, screaming. Again at 21:30.

  • June 2nd 2008
At around 07:00, a couple of Swifts passed at low altitude, responding with calls to the cd with Swift calls. Around 09:30, two Swifts were calling in the sky behind our house. I turned on the cd, after which the Swifts passed by our house two or three times at low altitude, calling.

  • June 16th 2008
I found a couple of new 'natural' nestplaces. I was in the city centre of Nijmegen and noticed screaming Swifts. I went to take a look, and found out there were Swifts nesting in the building that's in use as a brothel! There's also a nestplace in the building next to it. I was looking at the Swifts when one tried to enter the hole in that building. The hole's size however caused the Swift to need four attempts! The Swift approached, hit the entrance, made a circle at low altitude and tried again. It repeated this until it managed to wrigle it's way in...
Some pictures I took the day after I found out about the nestplaces can be found here on the Swift pictures & videos section. I took them in the early morning when there were no ladies at work behind the windows. The first picture shows the small entrance hole, the second shows the building and 'scenery'. :) The third shows a building across the street that also has a very active Swift nestplace. They're nesting under the top rooftile. Groups of swifts very frequently come passing at high speed, calling enthousiastically. These kind of swifts, seeking nestplaces are called bangers among swift enthousiasts.
The day before I took these pictures, when I found out about the nestsites, it was late in the afternoon. At that time, there were some ladies at work. I was watching the Swift attempting to enter the small nesthole, using my binoculars from time to time. A man coming from the brothel approached me, asking me if I was taking pictures of the ladies. I showed him it were binoculars I was holding, not a camera, and told him I was watching the birds. He responded by asking somewhat annoyed "there aren't any birds here, are there?". I showed him the entrance hole and told him Swifts were nesting there. He asked if that was something special, and I told him Swifts were special birds and that I was very interested in them. I also showed him the Barn Swallow tattoo on my wrist, as he didn't seem very convinced. Appearantly, that was enough, as the man responded with a cranky "hmm" and left. Birdwatching can be a dangerous activity... ;)

  • June 21st 2008
My girlfriend Lisette helped me to get the nestbox containing the speaker and now also a new mini infrared camera back up under the gutter. I screwed up the camera I bought before we put up the boxes at the end of april by attaching the wires in a wrong way. But this time things went ok, so I can now see what goes on inside, even though the image is somewhat unfocused. The infrared LED's are pretty bright, iluminating mainly the middle of the image. There's some feathers and straws on the bottom of the box to serve as nesting material. A screen shot of the camera can be found here on the Swift pictures & videos section.

  • June 22nd 2008
At 20:10, two Swifts passed once close to our house at low altitude.

  • June 24th 2008
At around 06:30, one Swift passed by our house just once, responding with calls to the cd. At 21:10 3 Swifts passed in between our house and the neighbors, calling in response to the cd. At around 21:15, four of them passed calling at low altitude a couple of times. I filmed a couple of Swifts flying near our street at 19:50. The video isn't great, but can be found here in the swift pictures & videos section.

  • July 15th 2008
At around 7 in the morning, I filmed some Swifts in Nijmegen's city centre, acros the street from the brothel. The video can be found herein the Swift pictures & videos section.

  • July 22nd 2008
At around 21:00, I heard a lot of Swifts calling while sitting behind the desk in our livingroom. Went outside to take a look (of course), and saw a flock of approx. 50 birds circling the sky high above our house. Quite a spectacular sight, even though I've seen it before. I managed to take a couple of pictures, which was kind of hard with the poor light, great distance and small subjects, but my camera did an excellent job again, thanks buddy! :)
Also managed to make a quick movie. The pictures and movie can be found here in the swift pictures & videos section.

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