Mon 18 December 2017 – Rain on and off all day, overcast and very strong Southwesterly wind at Barn Swallow viewing time. I went to the Lake Victoria viewing site and Barn Swallows were already arriving. Not pleasant at all, I got very cold and packed up at 6.30pm as it was starting to rain, I watched the skies from home, incredible numbers arriving, hugging the lower landscape to escape the cold wind. Skies clear 6.52pm
Sun 17 December 2017 – Sunny and hot day clouding over mid afternoon with a 5 minute sprinkle of rain at Barn Swallow viewing time, Dark and hazy, Westerly wind. The Barn Swallows began their arrival at 6,25pm with mass numbers and displays 6.45pm, mind blowing numbers, magnificent displays, awesome beyond words, too dark for photos. Skies clear 7.04pm
Sat 16 December 2017 – Sunshine and heat today, bright at Barn Swallow viewing time, light Northeasterly breeze, classic sunset. Skies quiet until 6.35pm arrivals began slowly, hazy backdrop, binoculars needed, uncountable Barn Swallows arrived with some nice, spectacular overhead and close up fly overs thrilling spectators, lower landscape a buzz with activity and all too soon skies went quiet 7.07pm when all the Barn Swallows went down to roost in the reedbed.
Fri 15 December 2017 – Cold, overcast, Easterly wind. The Barn Swallows were few and far between until 6.32pm then the arrival began we much speed, hugging the landscape and preferring the lower valley only a few brief skyline displays, huge numbers, binoculars needed, too dark for photos. Skies clear 7pm
Thurs 14 December 2017 – Cold, overcast, Westerly wind and raining from just after lunch. No Swallow watching this evening
Wed 13 December 2017 – Fully overcast at 5pm, light Westerly wind, first Barn Swallows sighted 5.40pm, the reedbed was full of song from the Queleas. By 6.10pm the sky was filled with Barn Swallows from every direction, it is years since we have seen such phenomenal numbers, a touch of colour as the sun set, uncountable Barn Swallows gave a memorable performance before skies clear 6.55pm
Tues 12 December 2017 – Overcast the entire day, pouring down from 4pm, strong Westerly wind, cold. No Swallow watching this evening
Mon 11 December 2017 – Overcast with rain, pouring down at Barn Swallow viewing time, virtually no wind. No Swallow watching this evening
Sun 10 December 2017 – Westerly wind the entire day, fully overcast at Barn Swallow viewing time, a chill in the wind. First Barn Swallows sighted 5.20pm, numbers starting to build by 5.45pm then a 5 minute rain shower and skies clear of Barn Swallows until 6.25pm then the masses arrived concentrated in the lower valley with very close overhead displays, awesome. Skies clear 6.53pm
Sat 9 December 2017 – Beautiful blue skies this morning then at lunch time the Westerly wind began to pump, it wasn’t cold then at Barn Swallow viewing time a dark cloud bank forming along Western skyline, hazy, an interesting sunset and the wind turned cold. First Barn Swallows sighted 6.15pm with mass numbers 6.35pm arrivals from every direction, binoculars needed but the overhead displays were spectacular, the swallows flew through the viewing site at head height, totally exhilarating, uncountable numbers, spectators were thrilled. Skies clear 7.01pm. Many large flocks of queleas sighted
Fri 8 December 2017 – Nice to see some blue sky this morning, clouded over mid afternoon with very strong Northeasterly wind, not pleasant nut went to the viewing site after seeing incredible unbelievable numbers from home last night. First Barn Swallows sighted 5.25pm with mass numbers and displays from 6.20pm, nice sunset, hazy, the Swallows preferring lower landscape to avoid the cold wind, Awesome numbers, phenomenal, skies clear 6.56pm
Thurs 7 December 2017– Overcast the entire day, strong Easterly wind, about to rain, not pleasant outside, no swallow watching this evening
Wed 6 December 2017– Rain, rain and more rain, has not stopped, Easterly wind, Mdloti river swollen and flowing fast, swallows sitting on telephone lines all up the D757. No Swallow watching today
Tues 5 December 2017 – Rain on and off all day, dark, light Easterly wind. No Barn Swallow viewing this evening
Mon 4 December 2017– Overcast, strong Westerly wind, about to rain, no swallow watching this evening
Sun 3 December 2017 – Strong Westerly wind the entire day, cloud bank forming along western skyline at swallow viewing time, wind getting colder, hazy. First Barn Swallows around from 5.20pm with mass arrivals 6.10pm, awesome numbers, uncountable, binoculars needed even though there were nice over head fly overs, lower landscape preferred, entire vista was full of Barn Swallows, spectacular. Skies clear 6.51pm (full moon this evening)
Sat 2 December 2017 – Very hot and humid day, at Barn Swallow viewing time a Westerly wind, gusts at times that blew so hard I has to pack some of my things away, it then settled to no wind. The sky was ablaze with colour at sunset and clouds that looked like they were bleeding into the horizon, I have never seen such a dynamic sunset, the Barn Swallows were late 6.25pm and in front of the colourful sky was just breath taking beautiful, uncountable numbers, awesome displays. Skies clear 6.55pm
Fri 1 December 2017 – Very hot and humid day cooling off at swallow time(5pm), westerly wind and overcast, skies darkened quickly. First Barn Swallows sighted 5.20pm with mass displays from 6.10pm, mind blowing numbers, spectacular, visibility hazy binoculars needed, some nice overhead fly overs. Skies clear 6.34pm
Thurs 30 November 2017 – I went to the viewing site, conditions cold, windy, strong Northeasterly, dark, fully overcast and then it started to spit rain, not pleasant outside. I packed up and came home, no swallow watching this evening.
Wed 29 November 2017 = Hot day cooling off late afternoon to chilly with Westerly wind and overcast at Barn Swallow viewing time. First Swallows sighted 5.35pm and small flocks arrived thereafter at random intervals, the lower valley preferred. Mass numbers and arrivals 5.55pm, the burning of sugar cane on adjacent hill made for pictures of interest. The Barn Swallows were amazing, uncountable numbers, absolutely spectacular displays. Skies clear 6.43pm.
Tues 28 November 2017 – Hot and sunny day, very bright, strong Northeasterly wind. The Barn Swallows were somewhat later in arrival, a few dotted right and left sky with most of the activity just over the reedbed. As the sunset 6.33pm, very colourful, the Barn Swallows made a rapid appearance, awesome numbers, from every direction hugging the landscape,beautiful mass displays with uncountable numbers until skies clear 6.47pm
Mon 27 November 2017 – Fully overcast at Barn Swallow viewing time 5pm, light Easterly breeze, cool. Arrivals from 5.15pm, binoculars needed, the Barn Swallows hugged the lower landscape and adjacent hills, flight at lower altitude this evening, mass numbers. They began forming at 5.55pm possibly due to light fading fast. Descent into the reedbed started at 6.10pm and skies empty 6.35pm. Thrilling display.
Sun 26 November 2017 – Lovely day, some sunshine to fully overcast at Barn Swallow viewing time with Southwesterly wind, hazy. Swallows were already arriving in the lower valley and along skyline, binoculars needed. By 6.10pm the sky was filled with uncountable numbers of Barn Swallows arriving from every direction, nice overhead fly overs, rain began to fall and the light faded fast, spectators all came and viewed from the entrance kiosk as the rain continued to fall, mind blowing displays then skies quiet 6.37pm and the rain.
Sat 25 November 2017 – 60mm of rain in the night with more heavy down pours, so pleased to see the Swallows out and about feeding this morning. Skies cleared up after lunch with some patchy clouds at Barn Swallow viewing time, virtually no wind, a touch of pink as the sunset. Barn Swallows sighted from 5.10pm, binoculars needed, numbers slowly increased with some nice overhead fly overs, the entire vista was a buzz of Swallows where ever you looked, very vocal, Super mass displays from 6.35pm until 6.55pm. This is what everyone needs to see!
Fri 24 November 2017 – Cool day, fully overcast with a few spots of rain at Barn Swallow viewing time, light southerly wind, dark. Barn Swallows around from before 5pm, awesome numbers present, masses upon masses arrived, very vocal. Descent into the reedbed began from 6,20pm then lightening flashed and thunder cracked and heavy rain poured down so heavily that the swallows fled the reedbed, flying up the face of the viewing site, so close up and sort refuge in nearby trees and on the telephone wires next to the entrance desk. The rain pelted down for 10 minutes and then subsided, slowly the Barn Swallows took flight, gathered, massed and danced into the lake Victoria reedbed. Skies clear 6.47pm. Numbers were uncountable, totally min blowing
Thurs 23 November 2017 – Watching the skies from home last night the Barn Swallows must have roosted as it was late when they were here. This morning this was confirmed and vast numbers of swallows lined the telephone wires all up the dirt road. An overcast and cooler day, light Southerly breeze, cool, random intervals of spots of rain. At Barn Swallow viewing time, 5pm Swallows already present in large numbers and the movement somewhat different in that they began arriving from the left sky moving right, they were noticeably vocal. Awesome numbers, constant movement, nice overhead flyovers and then at 6.30pm the Barn Swallows arrived in mass from every direction, uncountable, tightened in formation and then danced their way into the reedbed. Then another huge flock arrived 80% bedded down in Lake Victoria and the remnant headed for Froggy Pond. Skies clear 6.46pm.
Wed 22 November 2017 – Overcast with spots of rain this morning, Westerly wind, from lunch time rain and at Barn Swallow viewing time heavy rain with thunder storm. No Swallow viewing this evening. Drop in temperature to 20°C
Tues 21 November 2017 – Very hot and humid day, light Northeasterly breeze, fully overcast at Barn Swallow viewing time, swallows around from mid afternoon. Vista was hazy, binoculars needed, nice numbers moving through lower valley hugging the landscape with occasional overhead displays. Skies quiet 6,35pm. No roosting. Weather changed suddenly with strong Southwesterly buster as we were packing up.
Mon 20 November 2017 – Steamy hot day at 35°C, a welcome Easterly breeze at Barn Swallow viewing time, patchy sky, hazy. First Barn Swallows sighted 5.10pm all along skyline and in the lower valley at random intervals, this movement continued throughout the vista with an occasional overhead fly over until 6.32pm. No form or display for roosting, interest was shown towards the reedbed, failed to see any descent. Rain daisy’s in full bloom on the viewing site, a magical sunset, we saw more swallows than last night but far from the masses we are accustomed to.
Fireflies sighted after 7pm
Sun 19 November 2017 – Lovely sunny day clouding over late afternoon, wind light Northeasterly switching to Southerly breeze during viewing times, fully overcast and hazy. Some Barn Swallows sighted 5.10pm and then wafts from 5.55pm over our heads and down in the valley surveying the reedbed until 6.25pm then skies went quiet. No roosting, we saw more this evening than last night but still very disappointing for spectators. Gave up watching 6.45pm.
Sat 18 November 2017 – A classic day, virtually no wind, bright at Barn Swallow viewing time with cloud bank along Western skyline. Some Barn Swallow activity 5.10pm to 5.35pm then the skies went quiet. A magnificent sunset but only a tiny flock of Barn Swallows arrived 6.35pm very disappointing for spectators and quite bazaar after the numbers we have seen this week.
Fri 17 November 2017 – Overcast, cold with a few spots of rain. I went to the viewing site to see if the newly arrived Barn Swallows had stayed………YES. Millions arrived and displayed from 6.10pm until 6.38pm. Awesome numbers where ever you looked. I am over joyed that they are here, better late than never.
Wed 15 and Thurs 16 November 2017 – Smacked by a cold front with pouring rain and gale force winds, temperatures dropped. No Swallow watching and am worried about this cold snap, snow on the mountains. Watched the skies from home and feared for the swallows as they battled the elements and used the lower river valley on route to roost
Tues 14 November 2017 – Overcast and hazy, some rumbling of thunder and big spots of rain, the few spectators packed up early as the weather changed. I sat it out and waited and was rewarded, the Barn Swallows arrived in mass numbers 6.05pm, awesome displays, so pleased to see them…..they were later than usual this year. Roosting upper part Lake Victoria. Skies clear 6.32pm. Very dull to get a descent photo
Mon 13 November 2017 – Horrible weather not pleasant at all. No Barn Swallow viewing this evening
The Return of the Barn Swallows 12 November 2017 – Great turn out of Barn Swallow supporters, the wind was pumping Northeasterly and not that pleasant outdoors. To compliment the arrival local cuisine was on sale with works of art. See Return of the Swallows 2017 for more
Spectators waited and at 6.25pm a tiny flock of less than 100 Barn Swallows arrived and gave a 20 second show before diving into the reedbed. Very disappointing for the spectators and far from normal…..very worrying and a huge cause for concern. This is all a reminder to us that this is nature and has it’s own time frame that can change at any time.
We saw the first Barn Swallow arrivals only yesterday so perhaps with the mixed weather we have been experiencing the Barn Swallows are late in arrival this season and the strong possibility of a shallow lake. Also of note are a few thousand quelia whom are also residing in the Lake Victoria reedbed.
Phone lines were down and no internet connection for 8 days, apologies to people whom tried to contact and have been eagerly awaiting news of this event.