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Cliff-nesting Common Swifts in Norfolk

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Old Saturday 20th May 2017, 15:51   #1
Ernest Garcia
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Cliff-nesting Common Swifts in Norfolk

I was at Hunstanton Cliffs in NW Norfolk on 14 May and was interested to see Common Swifts Apus apus entering rock crevices within the chalk strata there. At least three different sites were being used, with pairs seen together entering two of them. I have been unable to discover whether this cliff-nesting colony is known to Norfolk birders, although I very much expect that it is. I would welcome confirmation.
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Old Saturday 7th October 2017, 22:28   #2
Andy in Norfolk
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Hi Ernest - Ive only just seen your post but can confirm that a small number of Swifts (maybe 4-6 pairs annually) have nested in cervices in the cliffs at Hunstanton for at least the last 25 years - probably way longer. I don't know of any formal monitoring of numbers or productivity here though - Fulmars aside !
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Old Sunday 8th October 2017, 14:13   #3
John Cantelo
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I too missed this but the habit was noted in Stephenson's three-volume 19th century work "Birds of Norfolk" as quoted in Taylor et al's "The Birds of Norfolk". Quote: "... breeding regularly in the dark crevices of the chalk cliffs at Hunstanton... despite being frequently shot at from the beach." The same source records that 1-2 pairs continued to do so 1966-1973, increasing to 3-4 pairs in 1976 but only one in 1981.

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