A swift response

Getting to cycle along the River Cam of a morning or of an evening is one of favourite things about going to work. It’s so peaceful – the rowers getting enough exercise for everyone in Cambridge, the boat owners sitting amid plants atop their boats and for the last couple or months people working on the other side of the river to make a space for people and wildlife. Nothing like the sight of other people working as you pootle past on a sit up and beg bike with a wicket basket. Living the dream!!

About a month ago a large steel structure appeared. It looked like a silver circle with a cross in it. Then little coloured boxes filled in the circle to make it look like a giant setting sun. It dawned on me that this was the ‘swift tower’ that I’ve heard rumours about. So today being a lovely day for a walk – instead of continuing along Riverside – I finally crossed over the river on the dream of a bridge to have a closer look.

Designed by Andrew Merritt to look like a giant African sun it emits the sound of swifts calling from a solar powered bird scarer that has been modified. I couldn’t actually see any swifts darting in and out but there are certainly swifts in the area. I see them playfully swooping up and down the river whenever I cycle along it. I would have preferred to see a ramshackle picturesque cottage with lots of good old fashioned eves for the swifts to nest under but if modern art can play the same role then I applaud it. However I should have thought the sounds of fake swifts would have been off putting to the birds but I guess only time will tell that. If I were a swift that had flown all the way from Africa then I think I’d probably like a bit of peace and quiet while I did a spot of neat building!

Still it is all pretty exciting. It’s the first swift tower that any council has commissioned so well done Cambridge City Council! You can read more about it on Action For Swifts or in the Cambridge News and the BBC Cambridgeshire.

The tower is certainly an interesting edition to the area which now has a proper path with benches and litter bins. One of which is one of the new solar powered compressors that made their début in Ireland last summer and on Green End Road Park in Cambridge earlier this year. There is also a bin for recycling! Yea! Finally!

Along Riverside itself to add to the the cycle bridge and the bollards that were put in a few years ago to prevent cars shooting along the length of the road, there is the new walkway that will hopefully prioritise pedestrians and cyclists over cars and make the walk from Midsummer Common to Stourbridge Common just that bit nicer. To encourage cars off the road Streetcar are planning to put a car on Riverside. The already have one in the Vie Development. It looks like the whole area will soon be a haven for the environmentally conscious Cambridge cyclists. What fun!

One Response to “A swift response”

  1. Ellie Says:

    Fascinating news from Cambridge, as usual you keep us intrigued and informed.

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