Contrary to what I wrote on this blog twelve days ago, here, it seems we still have swifts overhead!
We saw two on the 26th of August - circling over our house for at least an hour, at around 1930hrs... and another last night (on the 27th) at about the same time.
Now, the latest I've ever seen a swift (other than a pallid swift of course) in east Berks, was on September 5th, about a decade ago.
Well... we're only just over a week out from that late date, this year.
And on closer inspection of the photos I took of the two birds circling our house for at least an hour on the evening of the 26th, you'll see one of the birds (the one with a slightly skew-whiff secondary wing feather by the look of it) has what is clearly a swollen throat - full, I'm sure of many midges etc it is catching and pressing into what is known as a food "bolus" to take back to its young.
So... we have adult swifts still hunting for aerial insects and taking these hundreds of insects (pressed into a bolus in their throat pouches) back to young - in late August!
That's pretty amazing - something I've not seen before so late in the year. I guess they were a fortnight or so late in arriving - and we've had a pretty mixed season, weather-wise - so that might explain it I suppose.
I wonder where these birds are bringing up their young? I don't think it would be south of here, but I'm pretty sure it isn't in the immediate vicinity.
I guess I'll never know.
But what I DO know is that I'm very happy INDEED to still be watching breeding swifts in East Berkshire in late August!
Photos below (cropped an awful lot... these birds were flying well above the house, feeding). You'll see the bird's swollen throat pouch (and a comparison with its mate in the last photo - note the non swollen, pale throat).