Sunday, 7 December 2014

Bicester Wetland Reserve: new swift tower installed

This evening I made another visit to Boddington Reservoir to watch the gull roost.  You need to be there about 3.15 to 4pm at the moment.  There are still large numbers of gulls but almost all black-headed (3000 ish) and common (500), just a few few lesser black-backs, three herring and a single greater-black-backed - the latter is fairly scarce in our area so nice to see. 

This is the newly-installed swift tower at the Bicester Wetland Reserve. 

Details of the project from Chris Mason:

It contains 20 nest boxes and has a solar-operated system for playing swift attraction calls. 
Swift numbers are going down and loss of nest sites is partly responsible. Caring for traditional nest sites is an obvious response, but creating new nest places is important too. Apart from incorporating nest boxes and bricks in new buildings and putting up nest boxes, swift towers have been        successful in a several places. 

This particular model was designed and built in Northern Ireland and at least 30 of them have been put up in different parts of the United Kingdom. As far as I know this is the first in Oxfordshire. We are grateful to the HDH Wills Trust and the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE2) for funding for the project. 

Swifts still breed nearby in Bicester town and regularly feed around the sewage works so we hope that one day the reserve will have a new breeding bird to add to its list; but be patient!      

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