Friends of Ware Priory
Swift Conservation & Nesting Boxes
Update 4th March 2019 - Good news!!! We now have all six Swift nesting boxes in place on the gable end of Fletchers Lea, ready for the birds return from Africa in May / June. For the time being the entry holes are blocked to prevent the local Starlings from taking up residence but they will be available for occupation towards the end of May. There is also a small call system to be installed in May which it is hoped will encouage the Swifts to at least come and view the new properties!
Special thanks go to Adrian Grover who installed the boxes on Monday morning in the cold and wind, and while hanging on to his extended (and secured) ladder - great job Adrian, thank you so much it is greatly appreciated.!
A couple of images of the installed boxes, hopefully a few with Swifts during the summer!
UPDATE February 2019 - Work is ongoing to get the Swift Boxes installed by early April, ready for the return of the Swifts from Africa in May/June.
Nationally, Swifts are in decline, due mainly to the loss of nesting sites as older buildings are demolished along with traditional Swift nesting sites. New buildings often do not include any facility for Swifts, such as Swift “bricks”, and are not suitable for nesting boxes for one reason or another. The replacement of older wooden facia boards with long lasting uPVC boards and the sealing of cavities under the eaves, also significantly reduces the options for Swifts.
Swifts have declined by about 50% over the past 20 years or so and are still declining at 3 to 4 % a year. Decline seems to be increasing.
During the summer The Friends, with the support of the Trustees, purchased six new nesting boxes for Swifts which will be installed on Fletchers Lea in time for the return of the Swifts from Africa in the Spring of 2019. We did hope to get them installed for the end of the 2018 season but problems finding a willing contractor to do the work unfortunately delayed their installation until next Spring. The nest boxes incorporate a "call" system which it is hoped will help entice those returning Swifts, which don't have an established nesting site, to investigate and use the new boxes.
With a bit of luck we will help establish a new colony of Swifts in the area.
I will keep you updated during the "Swift season"
Around the grounds
We will continue our commitment to enhance the grounds.
This year we funded a new edging along the length of ‘Friends’ garden, between the bridge and archway. We also, once again provided the hanging baskets on the lamp-posts in the car park, which our members planted up.
Our planting of bulbs continues year on year, this year is no exception. Look out for an even more spectacular display in the spring - as long as we can keep the squirrels away!
An ironwork double seat bench will be commissioned and installed in the Friends Garden in memory of John Hovell. The bench will be in keeping with others in the grounds and will be funded by monies raised in John's memory. An existing ironwork planter will also be installed as part of a the project, and the area will receive some needed maintenance to existing stonework.
Update Feb 2019 - some work has been undertaken to clear the water course and the flow is improving. There is still some work to do to get the channel cleared and our thanks go to Anne Atkinson and her students from Hertford Regional College for their efforts so far.
More news to follow.
Management of the proposed water diversion scheme from the upper Bourne to the backwater has now been transferred to Ware Town Council and the Environment Agency. We will continue to keep a watching brief over this project and will update you as soon as we have any information.
Update 16/10/18 - Work is now complete and hopefully will improve flow. We may need to get the current water route around the Friends Garden cleared to make full use of the changed flow.