Our Swift is nesting again in the eaves of our house, or at least has been making exploratory visits. The entrance to the nest is the tiny black square just to the right of the red lintel over the window. I snapped this picture quickly so it's a little blurry but I'm quite pleased with it. Its black belly marks it out as a Swift rather than a House Martin.
We counted seven newts in the pond at one stage. The most we've seen recently is three at once, but they seem pretty happy in there. For the first time we found one of them out of the water and up on the cobbles above the water line, so we blinded the poor thing with a torch and subjected it to some photography. We were careful to keep the torch away from its head, and then let it slip beneath the surface to escape any more indigity. We've still got at least one frog living in the pond too, even though all the frogspawn disappeared without sign of tadpoles.
This blackbird had at least two chicks in its nest. Sadly one disappeared last week, and we've since found a little dead fledgling on the ground. Whether it fell from the nest or whether it simply died and was removed by the mother we'll never know. The remaining fledgling made it to actually fledge, which we know because we found our cats being mobbed and scolded by the mother bird. Suspecting something was up we locked the cats in the house, and found a little fledgling in the plants beside or garage, fully feathered but still with a yellow "gape" around its beak and apparently unable to fly. We retreated to watch from indoors, and spent a very anxious half an hour watching the mother blackbird repeatedly fail to locate her errant young. She was calling madly and searching up and down. We very nearly intervened, but finally the young bird must have felt safe enough to utter a chirp, and got fed. We never saw it after that, so we're hoping it survived.
Although the starling flock besieging our garden has slowly faded way we still have quite a few raucous birds holding court in our apple tree and scouring the fat feeders clean.