Town displays flags to bid farewell to its much-loved swift population

The flags flying in Harleston as the town prepares to bid farewell to the swifts. Picture: Ian Carst

The flags flying in Harleston as the town prepares to bid farewell to the swifts. Picture: Ian Carstairs. - Credit: Ian Carstairs

A town with a strong connection to swifts has prepared itself to say goodbye to the bird which calls the community home for a few months every year.

Lucy Elton, church warden at St John's Church in Harleston, with the swift mobile.

Lucy Elton, church warden at St John's Church in Harleston, with the swift mobile. - Credit: Archant

Harleston is known for its swift population, with the birds living in the town from May to August, before they fly off for sunny climates over the autumn and winter months.

And to help bid the birds a fond farewell, 33 flags have been displayed throughout the town based on more than 400 cut-outs of decorated swifts.

These were made by pupils at Harleston Primary School in May to welcome the birds back and were turned into a giant mobile which is hanging in St John's Church.

To complete the display another 40 flags of the countries in Africa the birds migrate to have been added.


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While people enjoy the vibrant display they can try to pick out which flags are not those of an African country.

The answers will be posted in the Bird's Seen board under the Swan Hotel arch.

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Ian Carstairs, volunteer for Harleston's Future, said: 'We added a little twist so individuals and family groups can enjoy seeing if they can spot the non-African flags. There's no prize – just a challenge to see how well you know your flags.'

The flag display forms part of SwiftActionHarleston, a project to improve the fortunes of the birds.

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