Barn Swallow News December 2016
20 December 2016 – Belgium – Barn Swallow building – Ali
NOTE: We advise all spectators to go to the Lake Victoria viewing site, the Barn Swallows have switched reedbeds again. Viewing at this site will be Wednesday 21 December 2016
NOTE: We advise all spectators to go to the Froggy Pond viewing site, the Barn Swallows have switched reedbeds. First viewing at this site will be Sunday 18 December 2016
An event to stay for after Barn Swallow viewing
Barn Swallow News October 2016
25 October 2016 – Belgium – Barn Swallows designed into wooden structure, very creative. by Ali Hirondelles
4 October 2016 – Ireland – We’ve watched a pair successfully build 2 new nests in our garage this year, having cut the top off a door to accommodate them ! They reared 2 broods – 3 juveniles in each nest. The last brood left around the 23rd September. There is still one adult roosting at night in the garage- seen on 4th October 2016. P CAMPBELL
Barn Swallow News 2016 September
29 September 2016 – Limavady, Northern Ireland – Sad for us happy for you, all our barn Swallows have set off for your warmer climes. Last time I saw them was Tuesday 27th September, their usual departure time. I put up rspb nest cups under our balcony four years ago, attempts were made to use it, but didn’t happen. I was delighted when, on June the first, for the first time in five years a mating pair started to use one of them. They had a small brood of just two who successfully fledged. The local sparrowhawk made his presence felt a few times but was mobbed by around twenty other Swallows from the neighbouring colony. They were all safe and well towards the end of their stay. Look after those beautiful birds for us, as we know you will. I look forward to hearing of their arrival (God willing) with you sometime around my birthday in early November. Safe journey wee friends, hope to see you again next spring. Thanks again Angie for all your dedication to the Swallows and nature conservation.
27 September 2016 – Droxford. Hampshire. UK – Really worried about a second hatching of barn swallows. Their parents have left long ago and the four babies are determined to stay in my stable. I don’t see any other swallows about the place now, so am worried if and when their instinct finally does take over there will be no flock to migrate with. Liz Horn
16 September 2016 – Horley, UK – The 2 swallows that were reusing a nest in my horses stable had 2 broods with 3 chicks in each brood. All babies successfully fledged and they stayed in my horses stable for their last night on Monday 12 September. There was a lot of excitement that night! Wishing them a speedy, safe trip back to you. Their nest will be waiting for them next Spring. Gail Matheson
16 September 2016 – Wherwell, Hampshire, UK – All resident Barn Swallows have departed from the village with numbers decreasing rapidly from the first days of September. This has been an earlier departure than last year despite a very warm Autumn so far with temperatures in the high 20s for much of this month.
16 September 2016 – France – Hello, just to let you know the swallows left NW France, Brittany yesterday. The surface wind changed to a NW and the Jet Stream also. Numbers in my area have been low due to a bad breeding season and a very cold April and May, my local group is normally about 40 strong and this year we were about 18 swallows. 2 weeks ago a group of about 20 arrived and 2 days ago another group of 20 arrived bringing the pre migration number to about 60. In 2014 and 2015 they left on the 11th Sept. 2014 was a good year and I counted 100 swallows just before departure. I shall miss their chattering in the mornings as they rest on the electric wires and evening feeding displays over the gardens and fields. Regard Ella
14 September 2016 – Yorkshire – UK – Some photos for you of a quite dramatic end to our Swallow season. Yesterday dawned very warm and humid, with our Matriarch Swallow sat on the wires. I was at home all day, and the Swallows were around, but in the evening large storms gathered moving in NE track from the Bristol Channel, and erupted over the North of England in the early evening. Before the storms arrived the Barn Swallows were very active feeding on insects but then went into the barn as the wind grew. Myself and Mrs Mac stayed out in the garage to watch the spectacle as nature light her matches so to speak, and a very large storm ensued. In fact Manchester had its total September rainfall in 2hrs with ensuing flooding and cancellation of sporting events. We even witnessed funnel clouds forming above us, but about 1500ft above ground so we did not have the tornado’s which would have occurred if they had touched down, but these did occur elsewhere in Yorkshire last night. Other pilots I know, had, what one described as a very sporty landing at Manchester airport last night, as it was very exceptional weather for UK, and more akin to that which we experience flying further afield.
13 September 2016 – The last time I saw the swallows fly into the barn was Thursday the 8th and it seems they are gathering to leave a lot earlier this year than in 2015.
Regards Val Farquharson.
4 September 2016 – North, UK – Barn Swallows have gathered and left my area -Bev Morgan
Barn Swallow News 2016 August
30 August 2016 – Kallered – Sverige – I have written recently to say that a group of about 70 swallows left here leaving a small handful of birds in the barn. The date is now 30th August and this group of about 10 birds remains. I have just read that there are often stragglers who remain a while. I will write when they return to you in S Africa. Ann Ahlgren
28 August 2016 – Wherwell Hampshire, UK – Not good news for the end of the season as our female abandoned the second clutch of eggs last week and both she and the male have now left. Not sure if that means they have migrated or joined a roosting colony for the end of the season, probably the latter. There was some unusual behaviour when we returned from our holiday in France when I was certain that eggs had been laid but the female then began sitting on the edge of the nest only and was puffed up in appearance. Her behaviour seemed subdued and I was a little worried that she was not in good health. I was able to see inside the nest by putting my phone on the end of a stick which confirmed there were 5 eggs in the nest. Just as I decided she had abandoned the eggs, she then proceeded to begin incubating around 4 days after she stopped. She sat faithfully on them for 2 weeks but I was not hopeful that they would hatch and my fears were confirmed when she stopped incubating last week.
Have you heard of anything like this before? The only 2 theories I can come up with would be that she was in bad health for the time she did not incubate or that some building work that we had done on our house (though work did not take place in the car port but the presence of workmen on the drive outside may have been disruptive ) whilst we were in France disturbed her. The second theory would not seem to explain why she appeared to be incubating on our return from France and then stopped for 4 days whilst there was no disturbance. I also find that swallows are not especially perturbed by the presence of humans.
Either way I am very disappointed as I was really looking forward to a few more weeks with our barn swallows and enjoying watching them raise a second brood.
I cycled around the local villages this morning and the farms with colonies still have their swallows present but there was definite pre-migratory behaviour with large numbers on wires. Have you had any early arrivals yet?
So in summary this summer we had one successful brood of 4 babies in the artificial nest and no Sparrowhawk attack so I am pleased with that but disappointed with how the season has ended. Towards the end of the season there has been a young male visiting the nest site and involved in chases with our existing male and there has been an un-mated male present at times. I hope that these young birds might return next year along with our existing pair as I would love a bigger colony to develop which I thought was happening last summer when we had 2 pairs for the first time but as you know the Sparrowhawk intervened!
I’ll keep you update with observations of migration when I see the first birds on their way.
26 August 2016 – Southwick ,Mass. USA – I am a little late with my report. The Barn Swallow’s had a very dry summer in Massachusetts this year. There were probably 20 by the time they flew off mid August. Besides the barn , I had 2 Barn Swallow nests in my garage this summer , I left the car out for 2 months. They hatched, 4 and 2 were fledged in the end. The Barn Swallows were at the level that I could look out the window and watch the progress. Great fun for my 3 year old Grandchild. Season are changing , the last hummingbirds are leaving also. Happy Birding. Karen Brzezinski
22 August 2016 – Kållered, Sweden During the summer I have watched the swallows here … about 35 in number. 18th August I was on my balcony and the air was filled with about 70 to 80 swallows. On 19th August they had disappeared and now I just see a small group of birds again. I am wondering if I am on the migration route! This has happened before a couple of times.I will let you know if any more groups arrive and fly on to you. Ann Robinson Ahlgren
18 August 2016 – Canada – We have enjoyed the Barn Swallows all summer and now it’s gonna be your turn. The Barn Swallows at the pond by my home left this area last week and the Barn Swallows on Countryside Lake left this week….Autumn is almost here and our Red Wing Blackbirds, Chimney Swifts , Wood Ducks, Teal, and others have headed south. Our hummingbirds are constantly at the feeder every day…filling up and will be going south any day now….so in a manner it’s kinda sad….but I know your anticipation of the Barn Swallows is growing and you will enjoy them ever so much.
I’ve been doing a lot of fishing on Countryside Lake (4 blocks from my home) and posting pics of sunrises and some of my catch….usually I am fishing from 5am-9am as that’s the most picturesque and serene. I’ve sent you an aerial view our home and surrounding area taken by my neighbor with his drone. Our home is in the lower section. We are very blessed to live in an unincorporated area with wetlands, lakes and a natural environment….but close enough to town (3 miles away)..we have enjoyed the area for the past 30 yrs.
I’ve included a pic of one of our sunrises on Countryside Lake…just love the early mornings.
Take care and enjoy the return of the Barn Swallows…and thanks for all you do.
Again thanks, Glenn R Kuffer
14 August 2016 – Brittany NW France. It has been a very quiet year for the swallows in our area, very low in numbers. I only had one pair here breeding, they had a first clutch of 3 swallows earlier in the year and then laid 1 egg which successfully fledged last week. This week the swallows are beginning to gather, the 4 lines of electricity over our house is a popular spot, numbers are slowly increasing every day 20 then 40 now 60, they are very vocal and chatter noisily. Ella
13 August 2016 – Wimborne, Dorset UK – Second Barn Swallow brood being fed. Carol Fenemore
Barn Swallow News 2016 July
29 July 2016 – Barn Swallows in France – As promised some news and photos of the Barn Swallows nesting at the campsite we are staying at in St Just Luzac, about 30 miles south of La Rochelle on the west coast of France.
I have to say this is probably the largest nesting colony I have seen with at least 40 nests across the site. Most of the nests are in the toilet/shower blocks where the management have done their best to minimize the impact on guests by placing wooden boards under nests to catch droppings. You can see these boards, and also a number of artificial nests placed under the eaves of the blocks to encourage nesting externally, in the photos attached. I also attach a photo of the information leaflet received on arrival within which the management explains why the nests cannot be interfered with. I noticed when researching this campsite that there are several complaints about the nesting birds in the shower blocks but naturally this did not put me off visiting!
28 July 2016 – These are the baby swallows in my horses stable in Horley, Surrey, UK on the 10th July 2016 getting ready to fly. They have now fledged but return home every evening around 7pm. You can hear them before you see them! They have been reusing this nest for about 5 years now) Best Regards, Gail Matheson
27 July 2016 – UK – please see attached a picture of this year’s returnees and first brood, second one is well underway with two female birds on the nest when I took this photo, so currently we should have 12- 16 birds to send back south to you, if they go for two broods which I have to say has always been the case here. The weather has been very poor in the north of the UK with only the SE having any reasonable weather. June was a wash out (luckily away on leave for a chunk of it !) and July up until last week was more of the same. There is a vague possibility of better weather later in August but I do not think those of us living anywhere in the UK outside the SE would call this much of a summer. I have been flying up over the tundra, to North America or Far East so no Swallow news on my travels, though have seen plenty of Swifts. I do have some trips coming up to India and Africa in August and September where there maybe something to see more Swallow related.
I noticed from your web site that you were, or are in UK this summer, so you flew North as well this year, hope you had/ are having a good vacation !
26 July 2016 – Pictures of barn swallows in our barns. Regards Val Farquharson
24 July 2016 – An Eagle’s flight from the top of the worlds tallest building to his handler below. You can see him searching for the trainer, invisible to a human eye,
then fold his/her wings and then drop like a bullet to that trainer. On Saturday, 14th March, an eagle was fitted with a camera, an “Eaglecam”, and took flight from the building, the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai. The eagle would have no idea where that speck of land was or what it looked like.
It actually had to pick out and recognize the trainer. What surprises me is how smooth the flight is with no camera shake whatsoever.
Here is the film. Enjoy. Truly amazing !!
Click on the link below
22 July 2016 -UK – We have 4 baby Barn Swallows that successfully left the nest on Thursday 14th and I attach 2 photos of them, one with the male sitting to the left of the young. There was a fifth baby (picture attached) that fell out of the nest about 5 days before fledging and I put it in a box on a beam (the nest is too high to try and climb up a ladder to with baby in hand and my lack of head for heights). Unfortunately it would not stay in the box and ended up on the ground or amongst gardening tools and items stored in the car port. The parents attended to it but it couldn’t fly high enough to get up to the nest and must have been predated as it disappeared after 2 days of surviving out of the nest.
22 July 2016 – Barn Swallow Fledglings out and about – Angie Wilken
21 July 2016 – Church Broughton, UK – Barn Swallow fledglings. Angie Wilken
20 July 2016 – 2nd brood Baby Barn Swallows 2 or 3 days old Carol Fenemore Dorset UK
13 July 2016 – Barn Swallow Wallpaper at the Heights of Abraham, UK. Angie Wilken
11 July 2016 – Dorset, UK – This lovely Barn Swallow has now been on second nest for last week …..it’s the one next to the camera so I’m hopeful of some pictures!!
1 July 2016 – Broughton, UK – Amazing, I am over here in the UK on holiday and on day one I pick up an injured Barn Swallow ! Angie Wilken
Barn Swallow News 2016
26 June 2016 – UK – A Barn Swallow update from Wherwell Hampshire.
Since the last update at the end of May, our Barn Swallow pair (only one this year although we did have a second male present a couple of weeks ago visiting the nest sites but he was not made welcome by our resident male and has not been seen since) have chosen to use the artificial nest and the eggs hatched this week. They were very late starting to breed this year, almost certainly due to the cold Spring. Saying this I have seen juvenile birds around the farms in the village since the second week of June so there must have been nesting since mid April at some nest sites locally.
18 June 2016 – UK – After a really slow start this year our first Barn Swallow brood are ready for take off! This little one sitting on ledge in our barn next to the nest
From Carol Fenemore
13 June 2016 – France – The Barn Swallows arrived slowly at the beginning of April on a sunny day. Unfortunately most of April was freezing cold with over 10 nights at near freezing point. Most mornings were so cold and the insects did not come out until the afternoons at about 3pm. During these cold periods most of the swallows left the area. They came back when the weather was better only to be hit by further cold spells. Even in the month of May, we had 2 evenings at 3c and nearly every morning was heavy wet mist which did not clear until after lunch. Again no insects. There are not many wild flowers this year, no butterflies. Now there are hardly any swallows. My main pair have bred and have 3 babies almost ready to leave the nest but I normally have about 20 adults roosting on the electric line every lunchtime, this year there is just 1 Barn Swallow. I have been asking everyone in the area what there swallow situation is and they say the same thing. There are no swallows. The skies are empty in the evenings, the telephone lines are empty. The month of June has improved greatly for the weather but there are still no swallows around. I hope other areas/countries have done better. Regards Ella
10 June 2016 – Ireland – Barn Swallow numbers are well below normal, first chicks hatched out on 5th june ,only have one nest in the barn this year where we had four last year,regards j.c
Barn Swallow News 2016 May
29 May 2016 – UK – I just wanted to bring you the latest Barn Swallow from Wherwell. After the cold weather in April, our male Swallow was around for a few days and then disappeared before returning again. This pattern repeated throughout May and I was getting worried that he had perhaps moved territory (there are a number of farms in the vicinity with sizeable Swallow colonies and we only ever have one or two pairs with us) and we were going to be without breeding Swallows this year. Happily last Thursday the male reappeared again with female in tow. The last few days have consisted of courtship displays and regular visits to our car port. It is wonderful to see them back again and I have been mesmerised watching them over the weekend. Most pleasingly the male bird has been advertising the artificial nest (they don’t mind me watching them from the opposite side of the car port) and the female seems to have accepted it because today both birds have been flying into the car port with straw which they are placing in the nest. We are going away for a few days this week but I hope that on our return that nest lining will have finished and the female will be laying soon. Thoughts will then turn to getting the hawk deterrents put back up in the hope of preventing any visits from the Sparrowhawk this year. (the pair that lost their young to it last year didn’t return this year).
27 May 2016 – France – Oh my poor Barn swallows….Monday 23rd the first egg hatched, the next day the other 2 hatched. I could see the shells on the floor. Tuesday night we had a very cold night of 3c, for the end of may that is very unusual. She has been sitting on them for a couple of days, but I thought something was wrong because they were not flying in and out feeding them. Today the nest was empty for quite some time so I went in and looked in the nest. It was empty. Due to the location of the nest i do not think it was predators. They did start their eggs earlier than normal this year and obviously it did not pay off… so sad. Regards Ella
27 May 2016 – Spain – I thought it would be nice for you to see your swallows in “Family” mode. The photo attached is in the middle of our lounge along with several others and many more outside. As you can see there are 5 mouths to feed in this nest and it is only the parents second year. Most commonly it is 3. Yesterday they persuaded the 3 biggest to leave the nest, and I was so worried because they had not returned by the beginning of darkness. I left the French doors wide open. Normally when they are all safely in we close them, and just leave a couple of missing pains. I was sooooo please to see them safely in the nest when I went down stairs this morning. I think they possibly had become too tired or lost. I do not have enough knowledge to understand exactly what could have happened. Today no amount of shouting and screaming from the parents would encourage them out. The parents tried flying close to them with food, and not feeding them, but nothing was going to persuade them to leave the safety of their home. It was afternoon before I saw them feed the 3 older birds. In the morning they had continued to feed the 2 younger birds. I hope that they will all fly safely to Africa for the first time later this year. Best Wishes Pauline
23 May 2016 – Yorkshire – UK – Just a quick update on our, and our neighbours returnees. We had 4 returns in April and our closer neighbor had one. The lone Barn Swallow sat on the wires singing day in day out, and we were all getting concerned that his family group had perished on their Trek back, however his patience was rewarded this weekend when 5 Barn Swallows arrived, and we have had a further two. To say the stunt flying round here on Saturday afternoon was spectacular was an understatement. They flew between our cars, round us at low level, in and out of our garages and went on like that for a good 2 hours. We normally get flying like that at the end of the summer when they are getting ready to leave, but it was a joy to behold. We have had no young yet but there has been a lot of tidying up going on, so we will see what happens.
I was talking to a colleague on route to Hong Kong last week who had been down your way recently. She said that they had some strong easterly winds in the Sahara on route south, and that these had extended down to close to ground level and had subsequently heard that there had been something in the press about this taking a toll on northbound migrants. I have not seen or heard of this, but it is not unusual to get these types of winds at this time of year as the desert heats up, and I am sure they take a steady toll on migrants.
All the best Mac
13 May 2016 – Southwick ,Ma . USA – The Barn Swallows were a little late this year. Was around Mothers Day before we saw them. Has been unseasonably cold and wet. There are about a dozen, 6 pairs ? The photos are of other years in my barn. Sure do enjoy listening and watching these creatures. They are so FREE soaring. Karen Brzezinski
11 May 2016 – Latest news from Brittany, France. Well after leaving 3 times in April due to freezing nights and no insects, the swallows finally came back 3rd May the very day the weather changed for the better, very warm easterly winds. Not just my swallows but all around the area. My pair by the way have just laid their eggs, 10th May. 10 days earlier than last year, probably because they decided to use last years nest, saving them precious time. Just as I think all is wonderful the farmer comes along and starts to spray the fields with pesticides…grim reality. Ella
8 May 2016 – Picture attached of two of the Swallows in our barn hope to get better pictures. So relieved the Swallows have just arrived I was so worried they are so late this year. Will try get pictures but at the moment they are zooming around chirping as fast as jet planes. So happy to see them felt quite tearful. Regards Val Farquharson
5 May 2016 – Normanton on Soar, UK – Last year our first bird arrived back very early on 3rd April. This year northerly winds and cold weather in April as reported by Mac and others on your news page delayed arrivals with only the occasional ‘hardy’ bird being sighted. Just when I thought our swallows might not be returning to the farm the weather changed over the weekend of 30th April/1st May. Southerly winds and the arrival of warm weather brought an influx of hirundines last week and sure enough our birds arrived last Thursday 5th May – better late than never! The usual arrival time is generally the third week in April so they haven’t been delayed en route for too long.
I note that today is World Migratory Bird Day. This year’s theme is hugely important and every opportunity to raise awareness is vital. Perhaps you could highlight with links on your website ? Kind regards Andy
Celebrating World Migratory Bird Day
For 2016 the theme for World Migratory Bird Day is stop the illegal killing, taking and trade of migratory birds. Along some of their route migratory birds are faced with increasing pressure from humans trapping and killing them. What was once seen as an abundant gift from the skies is now rapidly declining. This day hopes to raise awareness of their plight and increase efforts to conserve and protect them.
Find out more at http://www.worldmigratorybirdday.org
1 May 2016 – Kållered Sweden – Spring here has been so slow in coming. We have had 2 days here and there when the temperature has risen to 14 or 15 and then back to chilly rain and greyness. A couple of days ago I looked at the 10 day forecast and …. all thecoming weekwill be above 11 degrees in the middle of the day.
When I awoke this morning I saw sunshine. There were cumulus clouds tinged with black sailing across the sky in the blue. A strange thing though that i had never seen before. In just my area we get a lot of ground mist which is sometimes romantic looking. This morning I looked at the 2 meadows to the left of my flat. I thouhgt there was a pall of
smoke from something burning on the ground. But no!!! It was a cloud touching the ground most of which was dark grey! It was there for only a few moments as I had to do something quickly. I looked up into the sky again and there there were …4 swallow flying so beautifully!!!!! Spring has arrived at last! Ann
Barn Swallow News 2016 April
For latest Barn Swallow sightings, times of arrival etc visit Barn Swallow Daily Log 2015-2016 season http://barnswallow.co.za/daily-log/barn-swallow-daily-log-2015-2016-season/
Barn Swallow Season CLOSED 13 April 2016 – Please revisit November 2016
30 April 2016 – Yorkshire, UK – Just a quick e-mail to update you on some rather unseasonable weather. This is what greeted us this morning on the 29th April, with just over 6 weeks to midsummer. As you can see from the photo our resident Robin who is trying to raise his first brood was less than impressed ! Swallows in barn and have not been seen all day. I imagine the conversation is going something like this from son to father. “Dad tell me again why we left Durban (30c with friends) to fly 8800 miles to sit in a Barn at 1c on our own in Yorkshire ?” Have to go and light the fire and order more coal! Weather is to stay cold, but no more snow, until early next week, then rain and westerly winds forecast, so hopefully weather will have improved by the time the girls arrive.
Regards Frozen Mac
29 April 2016 – UK – To echo some of the other contributions, we have had a very poor April for weather and this week has been particularly cold. There has been frost several nights this week and even some snow, it is actually colder than it was during some of the Winter. I have been concerned for the early arriving Swallows, Martins and Swifts and our single male Swallow who has been around for nearly a month has only made fleeting visits to the nest site so far. There seem to be more arrivals on a daily basis but insects must be in short supply and I am sure this weather has delayed the start of nesting. It looks as if it will return to at least near to average temperatures next week and I hope that will allow our birds to start pairing up to breed. I am really interested to see if the artificial nests I have put up are accepted.
Will keep you updated. Best wishes Tom
24 April 2016 – France – Just to let you know how the swallows are doing in Brittany, it has been a difficult month for them as it is so cold. They arrived and have left again several times for up to a week each time. They came back on the promise of a sunny day only to be plunged into freezing cold nights. Most nights have been 3c, slight frosts. Not much food around. Mornings staying very cold. So they have left yet again. Yesterday cold northerly winds arrived, freezing nights all week ahead. All due to change on 1st may when jet stream moves, so I expect to see them back then. Only my main pair have stayed this last time as they live in the boiler room and its quite warm in there.
In the second photo, the back nest is 2014, the front nest was 2015, I put a new stub in there if they want to make a new one this year, they nest 2m high just under the floorboards. At the moment they are flying to the ladder at the back and then flying up into the warm roof space through a small access hole. Regards Ella
19 April 2016 – Yorkshire UK – Well an uneventful trip to Joburg for me, with temps and rain as forecast out bound, with Thunderstorms over Zaire on return with no rain over Sahara. While I was away we had snow as you can see from the attached photos, and this is what greeted our 2 returnees on the Saturday 16th April in the morning. We later that day had hail according to Mrs Mac to a depth of 5mm so this month is living up to its showery reputation in the UK. The forecast is for further snow this weekend, but currently it is 18c as I type so we are seeing some big variations in temps currently. The two returnees are both long tailed male birds so look as though they have done the trek a couple of times at least but are still a bit skity so difficult to get a photo just yet but will post when I can. What I did notice was that neither was as dirty as they normally are when they have come north with very clean white breast feathers and both seem in good order and are busy at the house keeping which has to be done before Mrs Swallow arrives back or else! Regards Mac
16 April 2016 – UK – Saw what i thought looked like a lone male Swallow on the evening of Thursday April 14th, then again on Friday morning of 15th. Made positive identification yesterday. I think there may now be more than one now but I can’t be sure. We’re experiencing some pleasant and slightly warmer weather here in Limavady, Northwest Ireland now after a pretty cold month.Temperatures here usually fluctuate until late May when things warm up, it doesn’t seem to hinder our Swallows though, as we usually see good numbers at the end of the season. celebrating today with a wee bottle of sparkly, Cheers to the Swallows triumphant return, just love this time of year and to welcome our little friends back again. Thank you for keeping us informed of their activities all winter (here) Spring/summer there. Truly dedicated work that you do. cheerio for now, Val.
15 April 2016 – Brittany, France – The 11th April I woke up to a frost, it was 2c. My single male swallow was not on his perch (light cable in the old stable) I have not seen him for 3 days. The weather has been really mixed. Many cold nights, often no insects. I wonder what temperatures they can tolerate….this article was very interesting even though it was written in 2009. http://www.express.co.uk/comment/blogs/79438/Big-Freeze-is-killing-our-swallows
Today rain and miserable. Have not seen a swallow all day. Even my main pair, recently arrived have moved into the eaves in the boiler room at night for extra warmth, they are not around. This weekend the forecast is 2c both nights, I wonder if they have gone down to the south or the coast for a while. Ella
14 April 2016 – Yorkshire – UK – Well you may have heard the old saying “One Swallow does not a Summer make”. Well its perfectly true, we had one Swallow and its gone, along with the good weather ! I have been off on a trip, but weather in UK has been cold and wet (I know it’s always like this, I hear you say you have heard !) but we had snow showers on Saturday 9th April according to Mrs Mac (aka the snow hound), which settled to the depth of 5mm. She has not seen any sign of our one Barn Swallow since we originally saw it together, so maybe it was a fly by passing through and heading elsewhere, so as I type we are currently Swallow less.
The weather is currently changing with easterly cold winds in the north of the UK, but it is definitely time for our birds to be home around now, but as I fly tonight to SA we will have to see what is around on my return. Weather is warming up in the Sahara with daytime temps into low 30c, and night time in the teens, although there has been rain over the last few days, and indeed there is some forecast on our route tonight in that area, as well as further south over Zaire. I notice SA is still dry, so I guess your water shortages are continuing.
As far as the Cuckoo racing goes my mother in law is way in front, with her bird just south of Bordeaux, Father in law is in the Ivory Coast, Mrs Mac still in central African rain forest (so maybe lost), and my bird Stanley is in second place in Algeria preparing to cross the Mediterranean. So hopefully my mother in laws bird will gorge its self in France and slow down (please !). Anyway time for me to make tracks, so will post as always on my return, hopefully with news of more permanent arrivals.
13 April 2016 – Ireland – Hews received about Barn Swallows arriving in Ireland, see Global Records arrivals North
12 April 2016 – Brittany France – Our main swallow pair have arrived 12th April. Exactly the same day as 2015!!!! They have occupied their nesting and perching place in the boiler cupboard, which we now have to leave open until they leave. The nights are pretty cold still, 4c, southerly winds, but the days are warm and sunny bringing the flies and mosquitoes out. There are not many swallows about but it is still early days, expect to see much more next week when it is supposed to warms up a lot. I put up several new nesting blocks just in case they prefer to make fresh nests. Regard Ella
10 April 2016 – UK- Just to update you that we have had a poor week of weather with temperatures near to or below freezing at night and cold wet days with temperatures only around 10 degrees. Following the early Barn Swallow sightings in Wherwell I was concerned not to have seen any further birds for 5 days and wondered if they may be struggling to feed sufficiently. Happily I have just seen two males flying over the village and as I type can hear Barn Swallow song from the window. As far as I can tell the nest sites have not been visited yet and, contrary to some your other contributors’ observations, I have noticed over the years that our early arrivals seem not to visit nest sites and fly quite high over the village compared to during the main season. I note that you still have mass numbers with you so we still have few weeks to wait until we have good numbers back here and given the current weather that’s no bad thing.
Will keep updating you. Best wishes, Tom
8 April 2016 – Bradmore village. South Notts – I’ve been scanning the skies this week ,and today my heart leapt as I saw returning swallows. The first one, this morning, was at Cotes, a small village about five miles from here, just into Leicestershire, and as he swooped low over the lush English meadow, and the fast flowing river, he did indeed seem happy to be back! Our joy in their coming never diminishes does it Angie,..you will all feel the same when you welcome them back again six months from now!
The English poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (1809 – 1883) felt it when he wrote:
“The Swallow is come!
The Swallow is come!
O, fair are the seasons
and light are the days that she brings,
With her dusky wings,
And her bosom snowy white!”
7 April 2016 – News update from Brittany France – 2 April saw the first 2 swallows of this year flying over the house, they stayed a couple of hours and flew off. Not ours then! 5th April 8am found one of ours in the shed on the light cable, his or her favorite place from last year. None of our main family have arrived yet. The other one has arrived just over a week earlier than expected, probably took advantage of the southerly winds that weekend. The weather is now northerly and very cold at night 4.5c. It is such a thrill to see them arrive after their long journey.
4 April 2016 – West Wales – Since the weather forecast for the weekend said there will be warn air moving up from the South in Europe, i said to my self that i bet now that some Swallows would take advantage and hitch a free ride, and true to form a had a massive smile after a long winter wait this morning, to see three magnificent swallows having a rest on a near by power cable. I am know 55 years of age but not ashamed to admit that i was that happy i shouted out ” welcome home my friends”.
Keep up the good work – many thanks-Eddie.
2 April 2016 – Yorkshire – UK – Our first Swallow came home today, both myself and Mrs Mac were outside when we both saw it together flying into and around one of our barns (wine was par taken as normal to celebrate). It looks like one of last year’s young birds, as it does not have the long tail forks of an older bird. This is the earliest we have seen a return as normally we would not expect them for another week going on past spring arrivals. Weather up here is mild with high pressure over the country and Southerly winds blowing up from the continent, so I would expect you to have a number of e-mails announcing arrivals over the next few days.
1 April 2016 – UK – Further sightings of Barn Swallows today in Wherwell Hampshire (first since the bird I saw on the 25th) including a male which has flown over our house several times this evening in song. I am hopeful that this is one of ‘our’ birds safely returned. These arrivals of what seem to be local birds are earlier than last year by a good week.
Barn Swallow News 2016 March
23 March 2016 – USA, Barn Swallows have returned – My Barn swallows returned this morning at 6:50 AM. Last year they arrived March 14. This will be the 13th year that they use the nest on the front porch. Refurbished and down feathers added after returns.I am thrilled!
Sincerely, Joyce Richman
20 March 2016 – Wimborne ,Dorset, UK – Thanks for great new web site! I’ve fixed a camera near my swallows nest so I’m hoping they choose this one first this year! The weather here is still cold although we are having some sunny days , will keep you posted re our arrivals
21 March 2016 – UK – Had a trip down to Africa (Lagos) over the weekend. Heavy thunderstorms in West Africa most of the time we were there, never seemed to totally go away before sparking up again. Did not see any Barn Swallows but plenty of Swifts near our hotel by the airport. Storms again on our departure. The Sahara is still quite cool with Tam (Algeria) reporting 10c at night and 27c during the day so not too hot yet, but these temp are taken in the shade so put on a few degrees on daytime temps. The weather up here has warmed slightly over the last week, with a proper spring day on Sunday for my return with clear skies and mid teen temps so spring most definitely here, combined with Spring Equinox. There is not any sign of cold weather for the foreseeable future, though a return to rain and gales is forecast for coming week which is set to continue into April. These gales and the Jet stream driving them, are all from W/SW direction so may help some home bound migrants, though southerly winds are the ones which bring the most arrivals over the Channel as few birds cross the Bay of Biscay I would have thought due to length of the crossing. Anyway with regards the Cuckoo racing Stanley is now in second place and has moved on to West Africa according to RSPB web site, which means currently Mac is winning the race home with my in laws and wife. Pity he did not show up at Lagos airport he could have had a less tiresome trip home!
Anyway hope is all good with yourselves, and you are making the most of your autumn, and getting plenty of visitors. From your reports the rain seems to have arrived at least. I have another trip East to China and then back to Joburg in April, so will keep you posted. I hope you have a Good Easter, and will report on travels / arrivals of North bound birds as and when.
4 March 2016 – UK – I thought it might be of some interest to you that a swallow has been reported yesterday 3/3/2016 in Nottingham, England with another in Essex.
See link – https://www.birdguides.com/species/species.asp?sp=117040
Kind regards Jamie
2 March 2016 – UK– Just wanted to check in with you to see how things are going, and if you have noticed any departures signs yet or signs thereof. I have done one trip to SA and one to Lagos over the last couple of weeks both uneventful (although Lagos can always throw you a surprise, but not to do with ornithology !). The temps in the Sahara are still reasonable (mid 20c daytime but are climbing). The tagged RSPB Cuckoos have turned for home (not mine yet, as he is still in the Congo) My Mother in laws is now in Nigeria, so she is in the lead at present on the race home. The weather up here remained mild since my last e-mail, but has turned wintry this week. I have some upcoming trips down your way, so will post anything of interest, and or weather updates on the route the Barn Swallows take North. Hope all is well and that you get the rain you need. When we came out of Joburg the other week there were some big heavy Thunder storms around (rock and roll time for first hour after takeoff) so hopefully that also brought you some rain as well.
Take care, Mac
Barn Swallow News 2016 February
29 February 2016 – Bishops Castle which is on the Wales border: Love your blogs and was relieved to read the barn swallows got through the storm last Friday it was a really bad one from what I have seen on Facebook. Don’t know if you have read the book written by Horatio Clare called A single swallow, he follows swallows on their epic journey from South Africa to Wales, the ISBN number is 978-0-701-18312-7.
My best 82nd birthday present was watching the swallows coming in to roost and I can’t wait to welcome them back to our barns at Bishops Castle which is on the Wales border.
Best wishes Val Farquharson
Barn Swallow News 2016 January
27 January 2016 – Yorkshire UK – Hope you are having a good summer. Just a quick note to update you on the goings on up here. We have so far had an exceptionally mild winter with very little frost, and only a 3 day period of light snow, and this is in the North of the England. However as you may be aware parts of the UK have seen widespread flooding as a result (warm air holds more moisture unfortunately). As a result of the warm weather at least one Barn swallow remained in the UK in southern England, as reported on the BBC Wildlife Winter watch program yesterday. The weather shows little sign of changing in February with only occasional frosty days forecast, and with the 6 Nations Rugby starting in 1.5 weeks (my own personal first sign of Spring !) we are heading the right way for us anyway ! It was good to hear that your birds are starting to show signs of getting ready to migrate, and I noticed on the RSPB web site that some of their named tagged Cuckoos have turned for home, and have started to move North from central Africa. We have a family bet on which bird will be first back to the UK with my wife and in laws (I was on Livingstone last year, who did not win and died, so have this year gone for Stanley – keeping with the African explorers theme) However I always have to temper my joy of these early signs of Spring as at our height and position within the UK, as we have seen Snow, as you are aware into April, so we still have away to go yet.
20 January 2016 – Barbara Geiger and cameraman Karsten Bartel arrived on site to document the Barn Swallows, they are from Berlin, Germany and have just visited Nigeria, here is their documentary .
15 January 2016 – Just received this info of another recapture of one of my barn swallows, I don’t know why it has taken so long for the info to be sent to SAFRING but anyway better late than never. This one is an adult female bird and was recaptured in Germany. http://safring.adu.org.za/ring_info.php?ring=AB77720