Birdsong is tailing off now as the nesting season draws to a close. The summer moult is approaching and the dawn chorus is but a fond memory.

For me, the highpoint of the avian year so far has been the performance of the blackbirds. Their wonderful singing has been a joy to listen to.

The low point is the wholesale decline of the swift population. Apart from one magical five minutes in mid-May when around sixty circled over my garden before moving on, now only two or three appear above each day. Those birds were probably late arrivals dispersing and young non-breeding individuals. Once swift fledglings fly the nest they will remain continually airborne for up to three years before breeding although they return here each year in spring.

For over three decades I have enjoyed flocks of swifts nesting in my immediate vicinity but not this year.

Lack of eaves nesting sites (pictured), probable climatic conditions in Africa and fewer airborne insects and spiderlings may contribute to their decline.

Instead of the cheerful whistling of swifts, from dawn to dusk there is the constant frightfully loud cacophony of yelping parakeets that have up residence and are nesting in several plane trees lining an adjacent road. Their population has dramatically escalated over the past two years and the din they make is most annoying.

Unfortunately, unlike other birds their vocalisation does not seem to stop when moulting.