Sunday, 4 July 2010

Swifts by name, swift by nature

At the beginning of June last year, we posted some photographs of Pallid Swifts that we had taken here in the centre of Tavira. This morning we went into the town for another session with these remarkable birds.

If any family of birds is appropriately named, it's the Apodidae, the swifts. Having upgraded to a Canon EOS 50D since last year we felt better equipped to try and get some flight shots but still found it incredibly difficult; the speed of these birds is simply amazing and their line of flight often completely unpredictable.

Pallid Swifts usually nest under the eaves of buildings or in a hole in a wall; sometimes they will use a cave or a cliff crevice. Birds of the Western Paleacrtic lists only two instances of them nesting in holes in palm trees: in Algeria and in Portugal. The Portuguese reference is to 'our birds' in Tavira.

We were a month later than last year and this morning there was a frenzy of activity as uncountable numbers of birds were feeding young in the nests.


conor cain said...

The "apodidae" aren't well-names though - their Latin name means "footless"!! Which of course they're not. But swift - yes! I must put my RSPB "Misnomers" article out there somewhere!
Love your blog, please may I use your short-toed eagle pic on my own blog? Just been to Leon and saw this beauty for the first time!
All the best.

Peter and June said...

Yes, we agree, they're swift but not footless!
We get a bit annoyed when people steal our photographs but as you've asked to use one, then it's OK for you to do so.

June & Peter