Cookham Swallows and Martins
Summer 2021 Survey

Swallow (photo: Wiki Commons)

Young House Martin (photo: Wiki Commons)

WildCookham has set up the Swallows and House Martins survey to establish where they are nesting so that we may be able to come up with plans for creating more sites and provide other encouragement, to stem falling numbers of these iconic birds. 

 

We divided Cookham up and have a team of Swallow Spotters covering the whole village – reporting swallows in flight, nests found and numbers and fledging dates of the young. Although we have found some nesting sites, this has proved tricky as spotting a trio (or more) of swallows in flight doesn’t always lead you to their nests! 

 

The season started slowly with a wet May delaying the return of the swallows, however from 3rd June they were seen all around the village, especially in numbers under Cookham bridge. They were observed inspecting existing nests at Honey House, Winter Hill Road on 5th June and went on to lay here, were seen feeding on 22nd, then fledged around 1st July. 

 

Thanks to a boat-owning spotter, the nests under Cookham bridge were checked on 15th June, and we counted 17 nests. Swallows in and out under the bridge all the time. Another check on 5th July showed fledglings peeping out of nests and being fed, and young perching on the girders. There were definitely six active nests. It is impossible to check or see these nests from the banks. 

 

At Hindhay Farm, swallows were seen flying and inspecting nests on 10/11th June, with further confirmation of three or four nests. Then on 27th three young seen wing stretching, followed a couple of days later by fluttering, and the sight of a fourth, but still inside. They had fledged by 7th July (probably a day or so earlier) and, by the following day, six Swallows (parents and young) were flying outside.

 

Other nesting sites observed were: 

 

Hardings Farm    5-10 nests 

White Place Farm  1 new nest, since predated by a cat 

Dean House   5/6 nests 

Orchard House  3 nests 

Taylormade Livery Stables   6 active nests (half the usual number) 

 

We are also spotting house martins, and at least 23 nests were seen on St George’s House at the Odney Club with fledglings seen flying on 4th July. Also seen at Dean House, and reported in School Lane Cookham Village, but not seen. 

Our thanks to all our spotters for their support and enthusiasm for this project.  If you would like to help with similar work let us know at wildcookham@gmail.com.

Ann Greenwood

Swallow and House Martin sightings and nests
To 7 July 2021
(See above text for any details on numbers of birds/nests)