Today, with my Action for Swifts colleagues Dick N and Bill M, we entertained three fellow Swift enthusiasts from Northern Ireland. (Did you know you can get from Belfast to Stansted for £35 return? And they even provide seats).
It was a good day, with exchange of ideas, visits to three locations where we have put up Swift nestboxes, and an interlude involving a fiery Chilli con Carne (You need something hot to counter the blizzard weather of an English June).
But precious few Swifts about. It looks like one of those years when, to use the jargon, "the population has crashed". We have no idea why, but we have lots of theories.
That's the trouble with wildlife - it's always doing unpredictable things, like, in any given year, being very late or very early, or being abundant or being scarce. Personally, I blame grey squirrels, not because it's their fault, but because they keep eating all my peanuts, and I need something to hate from time to time.
Anyway, a piece of promising news: it looks as if the RSPB is now taking seriously the decline in Swift numbers in this country: maybe we can tackle the problem before it becomes a crisis after all. Watch this space for fiurther developments - I promise to be indiscreet.