A swift break
You may have read that we submitted an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for our new project. We will hear in December if we are successful.
Following the submission I headed out to Lanzarote for a break. Now you may be wondering what my holiday had to do with wildlife or Cumbernauld Living Landscape, but stay with me here.
At first glance this volcanic island seems limited in wildlife, but when you take five minutes away from the sun loungers you can find a myriad of different plants, birds and animals. And one of these birds, the swift, links the Canary Islands to Cumbernauld.
Swifts come to the UK as a late spring after a huge journey from Africa. You can hear them screeching as they catch insects mid-flight. Their chicks, once they have hatched and fledged, will remain in flight for up to three years. They even sleep on the wing!
Every year we have swifts breeding here in Cumbernauld. They’re one of the heralds of spring and often roost in churches, industrial units and other tall buildings. We are always saddened to see them go, but we know that each year they will return to help keep the midge population down.
So you can imagine my joy of seeing and hearing these fabulous birds from the balcony of the hotel each night, but there was one big difference. Here in Cumbernauld we see about 4 – 8 birds flying around at one time, but in Lanzarote it was more like 40 – 50. It was incredible!
The sound was deafening at times but it felt like spring had returned, and a tiny part of home had come with me on holiday. Sadly, swifts are struggling a bit in Britain and their numbers have declined by a third in just over 20 years.
So now I’m home I’m thinking about how we could work to make Cumbernauld a more swift-friendly town. Give us a follow on Facebook to see what we come up with.