Friday, September 7, 2007

To help you through wintertimes.

Video of the season 2005
To help you al getting through the winter of 2007/2008 I posted a video of the season 2005. It covers the arrival of the parents till they left 3 months after that. That year the raised three young as well. (Subtitles are in dutch.)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Mission accomplished

For about 12 days I hear no longer the sound of young birds from behind the rooftiles. It seem they have left the nest on scheme after42 days. Last night one of the parents slept in the nest. Maybe that is the one that arrived late this season. It seems they take a periode of rest after raising theire young, before they leave.

Lots of swifts are flying abouve my neighbourhood. Last evening about 25. The nest at the other side of the house is still occupied. So here the common swift season is not over yet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Houston, we have a problem...

It could be the thunderstorms of the last few day's or maybe training their wings pulled out a camera cable, the fact is that I receive no camerasignal anymore. I don't want to lift a rooftile and disturb the nest because maybe the young swifts won't survive that. They have an 11 day's stay at the nest before they leave. So I'm sorry to anounce that there will be no look inside the nest anymore for this 2007 season. :-(

What will happen the next days is that the young will train their wings by pushing their wingtips to the ground and the ceiling of their little "room". Finaly they will leave around july 22nd. They then stayed in the nest for 42 days. Their big trip to Africa will start then while the parents still stay on the nest at nightime. Last year the parents left 10 days after their young. I wonder if they will leave earlier this year. After all they are a bit late in the season. Maybe I'm lucky enough to observe. (Video of 2005 has moved to the most recent post of 2007)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Live video broadcast (disabled july 11 2007)

At this moment I test a way to broadcast a live videostream. Enjoy and tell me if you like it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Today the young are 22 days old. Just past half the nesttime. A young common swift stays for about 42 days on the nest to leave and never return. They even stay in the air for about two years. At that time the are old enough to mate and create a nest of their own. Once they left their nest, they probably stay around the colony for a few days, but sleep in the air at 1,5 km high. And then leave for Africa. No noise of cars and airplanes, but the sound of buffalos and elephants will surround them the rest of the year. Amazing birds!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Clean your room!

That is something a swift chicks don't have to do. Mum and dad clean their nest and its surroundings. There goes a lot in th emouth of these little swifts but also there comes a lot out... And what happens with that? Right! Mum and dad eat it away and take it out of the nest. That way the room under my rooftiles is kept clean. There are swifts here for years and years but it never gets real messy under my rooftiles.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

birds of a feather

The young are 10 days old now. They are covered in down. And at the oldest wings you can spot even the beginning of its wingfeathers. (See the video). There is enough to eat: weather is fine so mum and dad bring food very regular.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


And it was Loes again who saw it first: there are three little swifts in the nest.

And there is young swift number two

And ther eit is, number two. This night at 7:30 pm I witnessed a feeding session. One of the parents enters the nest with a mouth full of nice bugs. Pre-chewed. The two youngster seem not to be that hungry but: they must eat. In about 42 days they must be ready to fly to Africa. But before that they must grow wings, feathers and more birdstuff.
See the video.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The first chick

Thanks to Loes Egberink. She announced me the first chick, this evening at 8.30 pm.
She even send me this picture. Tomorrow more news and maybe some video footage.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Three eggs

While writing the post beneath this one. I spotted three eggs.

It's time to come home, darling!

It's around sunset and while one bird keeps the eggs warm, the other flies around with it's mates. So what do you do: you yell at him to come in. It's enough for now. In the end you turn the eggs and settle yourself in breeding position. That's life for a common swift these days.

The big brooding has started

It seems that since friday may 25th the birds started brooding their eggs. Common swifts breed for about 20/21 days. Depending on the temperature outside it can take a bit longer. Last year, when it was cold and windy during this period, it took 23 days. So between june 13th and 16th we can expect the young swifts. How many is not easy to predict with thos couple of common swifts. Two years ago there where 2 eggs visible but there appeared 3 chicks. One egg was out of camera sight, deep in the nest. This time I spotted two eggs that are turned regular by one of the parents who keeps them warm. If someone spot three eggs, let me know. In 2006 they had three eggs. Only one young survived the nestperiod and left for Africa. The other two died within a day or ten.

These are rather dull times on the nest. At daytime we will see one bird on the nest and after sunset they will be both on the nest. Cosy together with their eggs. Looked at by many people all over the world. "Big Breeder" so to speak.
Thanks for watching!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

..and then there where two...

Today the second egg is there.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Right on scedual: the first egg

This afternoon, the first egg was there in the nest. Exactly ten days after the return of this couple of swifts, just like last year. Swifts don't keep there egg's warm from the start. The start with it after all the egg's are layed. For the last two years this couple had three eggs. So let's wait a day or two...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

nice and warm...

While the other returned swifts fly outside around the block, the two in this nest went early "to bed". There are over 20 swifts returned now to the colony. They are inspecting the houses for small gaps where they can find a place to make a nest. These two at the webcam seems very experienced. Although they left 9 months ago for Africa, they exactly seem to know the way to their old nest. Last year, 10 days after their return the first egg was there. This year they wehere a little late. I wonder when we can expect the eggs this time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

and then there where two...

This morning we spotted a second common swift in the nest.
Thanks to Geoff Beale for sending a note. So now there are two. The weather is cold, rainy and windy here at Aalsmeer, The Netherlands. So they stayed on the nest this morning. Resting and cuddeling.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

He's back again!

Cheer! Willy Vermeersch from Blankenberge Belgium was the first to notice the return of the swift at the Aalsmeer Webcam nest. This morning around 10:00 am he was present for a short while. At 08:00 pm he came back again. He yelled at passing other swifts. Let's hope he invite one in. And lets hope he came back to stay. All others that warned me about this event, thanks!
Right at this moment he just walks out of the reach of the camera.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Is he tired of waiting?

For the third night in a row the Aalsmeer Swift webcamnest stays empty. It looks like our early friend (he arrived at april 19) is tired of waiting for it’s partner. In the year 2005 they arrived together on the same day. In 2006 there were two days between the arrival of both birds. This year it seems that the partner did not manage to arrive on time.

Appearantly there is no reason for the First bird to stay on the nest at night. Maybe it found another partner and moved to another nest. Maybe it sleeps on the wing until a new partner arrives.

The webcam stays online and I will inform you when it gets occupied again

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sleeping on the wing

It seems that we are dealing here with a "wingsleeper". As you might know, the non- breeders of a swift colony sleep at a hight of about 1,5 km up in the sky. Yesterday evening the bird returned after a night outside, this night around 22:00, the bird was still not in.
Today it was the first time that a "crowd" of three swifts flew very noisy around the block. They seem to have a lot of fun chasing eachother, although they still are the only three of the colony that returned. If the rest of the group keep the same travel scedual as last year, there will be around 20 birds here in about a week. There has to be some company Between them for our little friend, don'nt you think so?
While waiting for him te reapear you can watch the video's on the site.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

He is back!

Fortunately the bird is back. Spotted at 21:26 this evening by Birdnut. Thanks for "calling".

Friday, April 27, 2007


It's 22:41 long after sunset and I'm looking at an empty birdsnest.
I'm surprised. Has any of the visitors seen the bird this evening on cam?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

lonely, yet not alone

New common swifts are seen all over the country. They are registered by birdwatchers on a website called The birds arrive in small groups and the "big return of the swift 2007" hasn't started yet. The weather is not to blame: it's to hot for the time of year and there are lots of insects available. So the sky is a rich dish for them. These evening there where three swifts flying above my neighbourhood. This webcam-guy (or girl) did not "pick up " one of them so he stays alone in his comfortable nest. space enough. Looked at by about 130 visitors a day. Luckily he don't know that. Would you sleep for a minute if you did?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Man at work?

As my colleague Hans said this afternoon:"it was a restless bird I saw during midday". And that's the way I like it. Since I cannot always be watching the cam, I like it when visitors tell me if something happens. A close look showed me there was a lot more nestmaterial present then there was yesterday. So I guess he is restoring its nest to make it cosy for the partner to arrive?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I look up and... the sky abouve my house I see two swift circling around each orther. If this is a rendezvous there will be two birds in the nest this evening.

Update at 22:55 pm: Well it was not. It's still alone on the nest.

From dusk till dawn

Like a real swift should, he stays only the nights at the nest to get up early in the morning and not to return till just before sunset. Yesterday evening at 21:00 he returns. He is still alone. I wasn't able to spot any other swift in the skies above my town.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A long sleep

The bird took a long rest after his long journey. Just before 9:00am he/she left the nest to go outside. The first weeks (untill all the eggs are there) you will find a swift on its nest mostly during the evening and nighttime. My timezone here is GMT +1:00

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Here we go!

Thursday April 19, 21:45 hour. "Peter, there is a swift in the nest, at least I think a see some tailfeathers". I run upstairs and yes! Ellis is right. 5 days earlier then the last two years the first bird has arrived. July 23 2006 it left, heading for the south of Africa. And now back for about three months. When will the second bird arrive? At 21:49 hours the camera is online. I'll send some messages to the dutch and English mailgroup. See for yourself! Click on "click here to see the webcam".

Sunday, April 15, 2007

While we wait...

While we wait for the arrival of the swiftpair, here's a video I made in 2005.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

First 2007 swift appearance

It is here, the first dutch common swift appearance for 2007. This time at Deventer by Arno ten Hoeve. When the Aalsmeer webcam swiftpair arrive on time, they'll be here around the 23th of april . At least they where in 2005 and 2006. At the time I write this we have 11 days to go. More dutch common swift appearances at:

What are you looking at?

The swift nest is located under the fifth roof tile from the left. Just above the rain gutter. The infrared camera is mounted one tile to the left and a little higher. You look down in a diagonal line.

The roof has a slope of about 40 degrees so, to imagine the real position turn the picture counter clockwise 40 degrees as seen on the black and white picture on this page. The ceiling is a roof tile. The floor is a wooden beam at where the rain gutter is mounted at. The red bowl, drawn on the b/w picture indicates the actual nest, made of material that swifts collect in the air. Behind the nest the entrance is located. The red arrow at the first picture indicates the flying-route to and from the entrance.

The third picture is a close-up of where the birds fly into the hole. From that entrance they have to crawl about 3 feet under the roof tiles to arrive at the nest. I found out that they do not crawl in a straight line but walk up one roof tile, go to the right and walk down again.