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Monday, 30 June 2008

26-06-08 SWIFTS + GRUESOME PHOTOS

This week some bad news, I turned on the CCTV camera placed in the loft where I have had a pair of Swifts nest for some years, an adult was present preening, but as it moved to near the entrance and off the nest no sign of the chick, there was two but I noticed one last week on the roof below the nest, the bird left and that looks like it for this year, so disappointing it has been fascinating watching the growth of the chick and see it fledge,also usually a small flock would fly past screaming and some would go under the eaves to look for nest sites.
A couple of days later as I came in from the garden I felt something crawling on my ear, flicking it off it landed on my sleeve,it look like a Spider so I thought ,put it in a container and get some photos, so walking around with this thing on my sleeve I got a small tub ,but when I put my 10x glass on it , I could have been sick this had been on my ear for hell's sake, and there was me walking around the house as it crawled up my arm !!!, no idea what the latin name is but it is one of the flat flies I have seen crawling on the Swifts, it has little hooks on it's feet to grip the birds flesh and hang on, but also what looks like fixed wings, presume it just launches into the wind looking for a host,and I also presume it was from the nest looking for some other Swift now that the bird has left.
Fascinating, but totally creepy, I couldn't stop scratching even after a shower,kept feeling it on my ear.
The end of the story is at the weekend I noticed the body of a chick in the drive, not sure if it is a Swift or not but probably, just about to clear it away ,but noticed it crawling with flies, so in the interest of blog content, I took some photos,at least 5 different flies on the carcass all trying to get underneath, not quite Vultures on the Serengeti but an urban equivalent, there was also some really small ones about a third the size of the Bluebottles.
Time for another shower with hibiscrub!!!
looking down on it( after I had determined it could not climb the slippy sides, I know what a WUSS)
This looked worse through the 10x lens as every detail could be seen.
I could just smell the decay now and again, but it brought in the mob
Digiscoped through the scope
Digiscoped through the scope ,I did have some video but lost it on upload.
the cycle continues.

3 comments:

Lynmiranda said...

Isn't nature lovely!

Northumbrian Birding said...

Yes have to agree,
Brian

Gierzwaluw said...

The Louse Fly (Crataerhina pallida)is not the one that would kill a Swift. They are commen on Swiftnests. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippoboscidae and http://www.bioimages.org.uk/HTML/T14020.HTM

Erwin.
http://gierzwaluw.web-log.nl/