Sunday, 16 July 2017

New Swift boxes at Lowgill

In 2013 we reported on developments at Tanya & Edmund Hoare's Lowgill house. Over the years, this has developed into 4 Schwegler 25s Swift bricks, 6 Zeist boxes, and most notable of all, 10 custom internal spaces in the eaves that are viewable from the bathroom and bedrooms! This post describes a major extension of the nest sites available with internal boxes in the gable.

by

Tanya & Edmund Hoare

We have swifts nesting in our eaves at Lowgill, Cumbria and four pairs in Schwegler 25s bricks in the gable that we installed 7 years ago. Those, in the gable end, were all occupied in the first year and have always been by far the most popular place with bangers. So last winter we decided to create a further 12 sites in the gable, using the Cambridge System similar to that at Fulbourn, with entrance pieces linked to internal boxes in the loft by 4” drainpipes.

Demolition of the 2' thick chimney breast
The gable wall consisted of a redundant chimney breast 2ft thick. As Swifts may be less willing to navigate a pipe 24" long, we decided to rebuild the gable with a narrower wall incorporating 12 pipes 12 inches long.

A platform of mortar was put into the pipes so that the swifts could get a grip when they crawl along.                

Former with cast entrance piece
Custom made entrance pieces were made by making a mould and using formers kindly made by Dick. They were coloured to match the sandstone walls. An attraction call system was installed with the loudspeaker in the apex of the gable.
Wooden nest boxes were fitted in the loft, each with a camera. Shelves were put up on the inner wall for the boxes to rest on so that they could easily be removed if necessary.
While the house was scaffolded we decided to also install another 2 Schwegler 25s at the edge of the gable where we couldn’t use the pipe system.
The end result is aesthetically more pleasing than using commercial bricks. 

Already in the first season we’ve had success, with both the new Schweglers occupied by roosting pairs. Bangers have approached the new holes although so far none have gone in, but fingers crossed for next year.

Rebuilding the wall 12" thick with embedded pipes and entrance pieces
The completed wall with 12 entrance pipes
Shelving support 12 nest boxes behind each pipe.
The finished wall on the outside showing the new Schwegler 25S boxes lower left and lower right,
the original 4 Schwegler 25S's and then the 12 new Cambridge System entrances




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