Swift – first and last dates

Apus apus – GWENNOL DDU –Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. 

Previous records are summarised in Swift 1994

YearFirst recordLast record
19934 May8 Oct
199428 April30 Sept
199529 April30 Oct
199615 April7 Sept
199723 April11 Oct
199821 April26 Sept
199912 April22 Sept
200030 April1 Oct
200124 April26 Sept
200224 April12 Sept
200324 April28 Aug
200425 April10 Sept
200521 April4 Sept
200614 April23 Sept
200720 April18 Aug
200810 April17 Sept
200917 April30 Aug
201021 April4 Sept
20111 May31 Aug
201226 April
201321 April30 Aug
201413 April16 Sept
201518 April19 Sept
201619 April26 Sept
201719 April28 Aug
201825 April10 Aug
201930 March31 Aug
202022 April26 AugustSingle bird on 1st Jan at Marloes Mere

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports, which may contain more detail than shown here.

More about the Swift in Pembrokeshire

Swift – 2003-07 breeding

Apus apus – GWENNOL DDU –Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded from November to February 

Comparison with previous atlas:

1984-882003-07
Breeding confirmed8939
Breeding probable1113
Breeding possibleexcluded from totalexcluded from total
No of tetrads occupied100 (of 478)52 (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads20.9%10.6%

Swifts nest in cavities in buildings and in Pembrokeshire in the cliffs of the south coast.

Those nesting in cliffs apart, Swifts in Pembrokeshire are entirely reliant on buildings for nest sites. The amount of renovation that has taken place since the 1980’s has made an increasing number of buildings no longer accessible to Swifts and new constructions have also proved to be unsuitable. It could reasonably be expected, therefore, that the breeding population has decreased over the past 20 years. Comparing the confirmed and probable breeding registrations combined, indicates a 48% decrease between 1984-88 and 2003-07.  This is consistent with the BBS index showing a 47% decrease in Wales as a whole between 1994 and 2007. The possible breeding category was ignored when interpreting the results of both local surveys,

Swifts being such mobile birds when feeding, they can be seen almost anywhere without this providing any clue to their nest site. Although no good method of assessing population has been evolved on a county scale, an estimate was made at the end of the 1984-88 survey by noting how many were entering buildings at some reasonably well-watched colonies and using this as guidance. The result was a rough estimate of about 2,000 pairs. Applying the distribution decrease to this figure suggests there may have been less than 1,000 pairs by the end of 2007. However this assessment makes no allowance for any decrease occurring within the surviving distribution, something which has not been quantified. It could well be that the number breeding in Pembrokeshire has dipped below 1,000 pairs.

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports, which may contain more detail than shown here.

More about the Swift in Pembrokeshire

Swift – 1994

Apus apus – GWENNOL DDU –Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded from November to February 

1984-88
Breeding confirmed89
Breeding probable11
Breeding possibleexcluded from total
No of tetrads occupied100 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads20.9%

Mathew (1894) regarded the Swift as a summer visitor, local but numerous in places, and noted breeding on inland crags. Lockley et al. (1949) called it a numerous summer visitor breeding in castles, chapels and tall buildings.

Although the majority of today’s Swifts breed in buildings, natural sites are used in the cliffs at Stackpole Head, St Govan’s Head and Stack Rocks (Flimston), as were others at Linney Head and Caldey Island in the past. The availability of man-made sites must be limiting, and an upsurge in building renovation in recent years, as well as the construction of new buildings that do not permit access to Swifts, makes it probable that they are less numerous than they used to be. Assessing the size of the population is problematical as their nests are not readily visible. Some idea can be gained by watching how many enter buildings or by noting the numbers screaming around the colonies during calm evenings. Using such methods, it is evident that considerable numbers breed in towns such as Tenby and Haverfordwest, that they are less numerous in other towns such as Fishguard and Narberth and that smaller colonies exist in pockets, as at Wiston Church, Gelly and Boncath. Linking rough estimates of this kind with the Breeding Birds Survey, the total population seems to be of the order of 2,000 pairs, but this may well prove to be an underestimate.

The first Swifts usually arrive in April, with the bulk following in May. Earlier birds have been seen from 14 April, and six were at Orielton on 21 March 1960 and one at Skokholm on 26 March 1953. They continue to pass northwards throughout May and into June. One was seen against the lantern of the Smalls lighthouse on the night of 17 May 1984.

It is difficult to decide whether the Swifts seen over the offshore islands in July are migrants or feeding birds from mainland colonies. Those found dead from collision with the lantern of the South Bishop lighthouse at night in July might indicate passage, but they could have been locally breeding birds which were asleep on the wing when forced down by bad weather. Swifts depart the colonies suddenly and en masse during the first three weeks of August, when they can also be seen flying in off the sea along the north and west coasts, and they were recorded killed at night at the South Bishop lighthouse on 6 August 1975 and 25 August 1976. A few are seen in September with occasional stragglers into October, the latest recorded being on 28 October.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H, 1994, Birds of Pembrokeshire

More about the Swift in Pembrokeshire

Swift – 1894

Cypselus apus – A summer visitor; local; numerous in places.

To be seen about the old castles, such as Kilgerran and Pembroke, about the cathedral at St. David’s, &c, &c. Also evidently nesting in places in the cliffs on the coasts, in crags inland, in old cottage and farm-house roofs and chimneys, &c, &c. We always had plenty of Swifts about us at Stone Hall, and imagined that many bred in some rocks by the banks of the Cleddy. They generally arrived with us on 4th May, and left us again in the first week of August, but we have seen one as late as 30th September.

Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands

More about the Swift in Pembrokeshire

Swift

Apus apus – GWENNOL DDU –Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded from November to February 

Swift – first and last dates

Apus apus – GWENNOL DDU –Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant.  Previous records are summarised in Swift 1994 Year First record Last record 1993 4 May 8 Oct 1994 28 April 30 Sept 1995 29 April 30 Oct 1996 15 April 7 Sept 1997 23 April 11 Oct 1998 21 April 26 Sept 1999 12 April […]

Swift – 2003-07 breeding

Apus apus – GWENNOL DDU –Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded from November to February  Comparison with previous atlas: 1984-88 2003-07 Breeding confirmed 89 39 Breeding probable 11 13 Breeding possible excluded from total excluded from total No of tetrads occupied 100 (of 478) 52 (of 490) Percentage of tetrads 20.9% 10.6% Swifts nest in […]

Swift – 1994

Apus apus – GWENNOL DDU –Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded from November to February  1984-88 Breeding confirmed 89 Breeding probable 11 Breeding possible excluded from total No of tetrads occupied 100 (of 478) Percentage of tetrads 20.9% Mathew (1894) regarded the Swift as a summer visitor, local but numerous in places, and noted breeding […]

Swift – 1968-72 breeding

Red = breeding confirmed Orange = breeding probable Yellow = breeding possible More about the Swift in Pembrokeshire

Swift – 1949

Species account from the Birds of Pembrokeshire, 1949, by Lockley, Ingram and Salmon.

Swift – 1894

Cypselus apus – A summer visitor; local; numerous in places. To be seen about the old castles, such as Kilgerran and Pembroke, about the cathedral at St. David’s, &c, &c. Also evidently nesting in places in the cliffs on the coasts, in crags inland, in old cottage and farm-house roofs and chimneys, &c, &c. We always had plenty of Swifts […]