preparing to blog half an hour ago, I was in the office when I heard a bird screaming outside. I thought it might be some baby bird stranded, but as I went it fell from the roof into my rainwater butt; on fishing it out it turned out to be an adult swift. they have just arrived; I have been aware of them screaming as they do, showing off or playing or hunting in groups.
its wings were soaking; it grabbed my fingers with its feet, and stayed quite passive in my hand, trembling and shutting its eyes. I would have been sorry if it had died, although it seemed almost unharmed. I guess a sparrowhawk had it, or it had been trapped somehow.
after about ten minutes of running my fingers down its wing feathers to squeeze the water out I opened my hand and after a few seconds it flew away, very low at first, then gaining height.
you can see how aerodynamic its head is, with huge eyes feathered so there is a leading edge just in front of them.
they are screeching above the garden again now. all the way from Africa to fall in a water butt. I must get a lid for it.