Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Lewisham Swift Talk

Tomorrow night (Thursday 22 February) at Lewisham Town Hall there's a free talk by swift expert Edward Mayer about swifts and enhancing urban biodiversity, including what can be done locally to create swift-friendly environments.  The event is courtesy of Forest Hill & Lewisham Borough Swift Group in partnership with Swift Conservation and Lewisham  Council (free tickets here)

Personally the very fact that there is such a thing as group of people locally focused on this fine bird gives me a good feeling.  Swifts make a mockery of our human borders, migrating freely between Africa and Europe. Watching them in the west country TIm Dee observed: 'To watch their combing of the matted air is soothing. They don’t seem to be feeding, they don’t seem to be on their way anywhere; they are at rest in motion. They have flown from Bristol to Southern Africa and back to Bristol without touching anything, carrying nothing, never perching, never landing, never tired' (The Running Sky).

They also fly at incredible speed: 'The highest migration speed recorded for swifts over a long distance is (a plainly wind assisted) 650 km (404 miles) per day… Measured by tracking radar, the flight speed of swifts on spring migration was 10.6 m (35 feet) per second, which, if maintained over 24 hours, would be 916 km (569 miles) per day. The fastest human runner, Usain Bolt, clocked 12.4 m (41 feet) per second' - but of course he only kept this up over 100m! (Charles A Foster, Being a Beast).

No comments: