October 2017

19 October 2017 – Bloxham, UK – Just concerned to see a swallow flying above us today, 19th October.  We had several successful broods here this year, although a couple of original nests were attacked by Magpies.  I wonder if Storm Ophelia and the wildfires in Portugal and Spain have driven it back? There was one brood that did leave later than the others so it may be one of those.  I hope it can find enough food and the strength to start to fly south!
Michele Norton

5 October 2017 – Falsterbo, Sweden – Great migration total – A happy, positive report from Sweden, where most Barn Swallows now have departed for Africa. We are not happy that they´re gone, but a lot happier about the migration numbers!

The migration counts at Falsterbo (the southwest corner of the country)  are running daily between August-November, and the average total for the Barn Swallow is 24 814 (1973-2016).
The counted numbers this year (through 5th October) is 39 710, which means 60% above average and currently the 6th best total since 1973.
I sincerely hope that all of you in South Africa will have the same feeling in November and onwards – that the numbers are higher than usual.
Best regards from Ola

5 October 2017 – Cornwall, United Kingdom – After a good year in our garage, 6 pairs produced 37 young that fledged successfully.Our best year yet out of the 38 yrs they have nested with us.

The last bird…a male Barn Swallow, left on the 5th October.
John Dowman
7 October 2017 – Northern Ireland – My pair of nesting swallows finally reared and fledged their 3rd and only brood, ( the previous 2 attempts eaten by Magpies!) late this year. Out of 4 chicks, 3 finally left us at the end of September. The parents, have been roosting still, in our barn, disappearing off during the day and returning just before sunset. Sadly, I couldn’t see them tonight, so I think they have finally left us. Feeling desolate, but glad they have decided to go. I look forward to their return next April.Helen Stewart

4 October 2017 – Ireland – It would seem 19th September was departure day for about 30 swallows here, just a handful seen the next day and nothing since. We had a good year with broods. Our regular pair built 2 x nests and reared 3 in each. Another guest pair/interlopers – ‘One Fork’, male with only one streamer- reared a brood of 3 as well.
C Gorman

September 2017

29 September 2017 – Strathdon, Scotland – Barn Swallow departures and one left! Just to say most of our swallows left in mid-September (Cairngorm National Park, Aberdeenshire) with five of the last family of six leaving 2 days ago. Now one lonely swallow left on his/her own. Do so hope he/she makes it although with no others around here anywhere it’s not looking too good.
Tracey Thomas

25 September 2017 – Limavady, Northern Ireland – Earlier than usual our Swallows left early yesterday September 24th 2017. Our weather has been stormy of late, and only settled within the last two days, so they’ve taken advantage of the chance. I counted 30+ on phone lines last week, so they were preparing to leave. They’ve done well this year as I’ve noticed even bigger numbers each year. Wishing them a safe journey back to you, please take care of them as we know you will. Look forward to their return in Spring 2018. Best wishes to all there.
Valerie

25 September 2017 – Village of Badgworth, UK – Our swallows in the  have now departed. The first group of approx 20 left on Friday 15th Sept and the final group of 30 left the following Thursday 21st Sept.
I wish them a safe journey,
Regards Graham Dumbleton

25 September 2017 – Scarborough, England – For the past few days, I have been watching the swallows here in Scarborough’s North Bay area. Today, the 25th September, at 0815 hours, they were still in evidence (C.30-40). Noted that they were roosting together more frequently. I went for a short walk, and returned at 0845 hours, to see the last of the Swallows departing.
Always a sad moment for me – Look forward in seeing them again in May 2018!
Paul

22 September 2017 – Devon, UK – Barn Swallows & martins overhead

Last Friday afternoon, on the first calm day after several windy days, in 30 minutes I saw several hundred birds flying over my house towards the nearby coast. I haven’t seen this number since the 1980s. Over the days since then I have seen quite large flocks and then, yesterday, a group of 3 swallows followed by a single bird. Just hoping that these amazing birds are safe and the late comers found others to cross with.
Christine

22 September 2017 – Denmark – Out of the nest and first flying lessons – Svend
Barn Swallow fledglings out of the nest Denmark sept 2017

20 September 2017 – Denmark – Barn Swallows still looking great today. Svend
Barn Swallows Denmark 20Sept 2017

19 September 2017 – Wimborne, Dorset, UK – 3rd brood of Barn Swallows successfully fledged today, 14 in total this year from single pair ! Amazing ! Out of the nest.
Won’t be long and they’ll be on their way back to you !
Take care
Carol Fenemore
Barn Swallows Wimborne Dorset Sept 2017

18 September 2017 – Denmark – I have been a bit worried about these 4 ….. It’s very late in the year and most swallows have flown south, but these parents are still taking care of their chicks. In a few days they are airborne and in a few months they are in South Africa. (Photo taken today).
Svend

Barn Swallows in Denmark Sept 2017

17 September 2017 – Devon, UK – 5 Barn Swallows feeding in blue Devon skies at 1300hrs today (Sunday). Surprising, after cool, frequent showers of the last week. Won’t be more than a few days before they disappear South. I think many of us would like to join them!
David Johnson

16 September 2017 – Brittany, France – Observations from NW France. 14/15th September the jet stream changed to a northerly course down over England straight to us in Brittany. Several groups of swallows have appeared feeding over fields and I saw one group of about 35 early this morning resting on telephone lines. They probably came from England. Apparently the recent stormy weather is due to the hurricane season in the Caribbean which affect us in NW France and England.

The northerly jet stream fades out by Tuesday, it has caused a temperature of drop of 5c below average for September. Last night was 10c.
Over and out until next year. Ella

14 September 2017 – Wherwell, Hampshire, UK – Had a cycle around the villages today and apart from a few late breeding birds, the majority of barn swallows have now left. There are juveniles around in greater numbers but they always stay later and I don’t count them in the main migration. Hopefully you will start to see the first arrivals in a couple of weeks.
Best Wishes
Tom

13 September 2017 – Yorkshire, UK – Swallows all gone as of 11/9 just about  on time, and  just before our first North Atlantic named storm of the season, so they have good weather nous as we say in Yorkshire !! Anyway as ever please look after and return to sender in the Spring.
All the best and have a wonderful Spring and summer.
Kind regards
Mac

12 September 2017 – Barnsley South Yorkshire, UK – The swallows returned 3 weeks late this year  (1st week in May). However the pair on the front porch reared 6 young birds and the pair on the back porch reared 8. On Sunday morning  I counted 52 swallows on the telegraph wires. Well today the 12th September they have set of on their migration. Another 28 weeks before they return.
Peter Clarney

11 September 2017 – Brittany NW France – Today is the day my swallows normally leave, but due to the awful cold wet weather we have had the whole month of August, most of them left the 28th August, the stable pair left 1st September.  There have been one or two tiny groups of 8 or 9 swallows arrived 8th sept but they rested for no more than an hour and left.  I hope they have a better time in South Africa. Regards Ella
Photo enclosed is of the swallows warming themselves on the slate tiles.
Barn Swallows France Sept 2017

10 September 2017 – UK – I have seen the first migrating flocks passing overhead in a southerly direction  this week. There are still resident adult birds in our area but we only have 3 of the second brood of young returning to the carport to roost now. Would be interesting to know where the other two are, I presume they have joined a communal roost. Will keep you updated with further observations.
Best wishes
Tom

4 September 2017 – Swallows in autumn – season of mist and mellow fruitfulness – Yorkshire, UK – As you can see from the photos below we are getting to that time of year again. The Swifts left about 22nd August and our Swallows are now all starting to line up for their own departure and the younger later clutch are really only 4 weeks old, so it’s going to be a long haul south for them. We ended up with 16 Swallows from our barn and a further 10nr from next door, so 26nr total with no losses so far.  The weather has been really mixed this summer in northern UK with a warm June and then virtually nothing apart from overcast weather interspersed with odd sunny period – no more than 3 days then back to cloud and cooler weather. Southern Europe as you may have heard has suffered and exceedingly hot summer with 43c in Madrid and even high 30c as far north as Warsaw, but northern UK / NW Germany / Denmark / Norway not so good , it will seem like a long winter for some I think. All caused by a southerly Jet stream over the Atlantic which has effectively blocked the Azores high pressure area which normally come north in the summer to give us Brits a glimpse of a more tranquil and warm Mediterranean climate. Anyway I will advise when our birds leave which should be in about 5- 10 days.

Kind regards
Mac
Swallows in autumn - season of mist and mellow fruitfulness. UK

August 2017

29 August 2017 -Horley, Surrey, UK –  Barn Swallows departure from the North -The barn Swallows in my horses stable have now departed. They unusually only had 1 brood this year of 3 chicks (normally they have 2 broods). All fledged safely. Hopefully they will be with you soon!
Gail Matheson

27 August 2017 – Curry Rivel, Somerset, United Kingdom – We have moved fairly recently to a house with barns and there have been several breeding pairs here this summer and last summer. We have re-roofed a substantial section of the barns, very fortunately, the swallows have not been deterred by this and we would estimate that there were perhaps forty birds in residence  from early July until two days ago (August 25th).

All have now gone – we look forward to greeting them again next year. We would like to share photos on your site and pass information for access by others.

Chris and Jane Rees

17 August 2017 – Wherwell, Hampshire, UK – The second brood fledged on Tuesday and I attach some photos. There are 5 this time meaning we should be sending 8 new birds south after the 3 from the first brood. Our neighbours have a nest in their new garage so good to see a new nest site being established and there are currently young in that nest (first brood only as a late start).

I was able to watch the young from our nest from very close by yesterday as they spent most of the afternoon sitting in our garden  being fed which was wonderful to see. It’s probably too late for a third brood but with better weather forecast next week you never know.
Best wishes
Tom
Barn Swallows UK August 2017

16 August 2017 – Update from Brittany, France – …..due to the cold spell NW winds since beginning of August/lack of food, not only have my second clutch of nestlings died but my neighbours are reporting to me to same scenario….nestlings dead in the nests over the past week in my area.  So sad.

I enclose a photo of my neighbours nest on the robin box and my first round of fledglings from earlier on in the year.  regards Ella
Barn Swallows France August 2017

25 August 2017 – Stearsby, York, UK – Just to say that our first lot of swallows have left now. They been chattering on the wire this past week, but this morning they have gone. We were lucky enough to have a nest in our porch this year, where the parents reared three chicks.
With best wishes. Jane Bright

20 August 2017 – Stanley,Co.Durham, UK – For 70 years swallows & swifts have returned to the same place about May and gone September but this year nothing has arrived.Why? I looked forward each year to seeing them.
Frank Adams

19 August 2017 – Southwick , Mass USA – I can’t believe it is time for the Swallows to leave already. Was a good year for the birds. There was a pair that were successful with 2 sets of chicks. I was generous and parked my car outside so they had the run of the place.
There were probably 5 pair in the barn this year. Not sure how the cornfield next door affects the birds ,I get concerned when they spray for bugs. They don’t seem to mind.
Karen Brzezinski

15 August 2017 – Near Wantage, Oxfordshire, UK – My mother who lives near Wantage (Denchworth) and my sister who lives nearby in Garford reported on 11th August that their swallows had left.  This is nearly a month before they usually go.  Is anyone else reporting early departures and is there speculation as to why?
Joanna Van Gruisen

10 August 2017 – latest news from Brittany, NW France.  The summer began well and then about the 17th of July it changed to windy, wet and much cooler than average temperatures.  Since the 1st of August it has been rather cool, there are not many swallows around lately as there is not much food for them.  Normally the local group of about 40 swallows sit on my electric wires, not this year.  Only the boiler room fledgling family who successfully fledged 3 weeks ago are sitting there.  The last two days have been very cold and wet.  It was 8.5c last night, this was too cold for my small stable hatchlings who were 10 days old and still in the nest.  The were all dead when I found them this morning.  So today I am very sad for them and the parents who work so hard to rear them.

The temperature is supposed to  improve in a weeks time so I am hoping to see a return to the rest of the swallows for the big gathering in a couple of weeks before migration.
Incidentally my neighbours first lot of nestlings died the beginning of July we think due to a freak heat wave but they have successfully reared a second lot which are about 10 days old and doing well.  Regards Ella

7 August 2017 – Update from Wherwell Hampshire. UK – The second brood hatched on Weds 26th July and appear to be doing well. I can see 4 young although there were 5 eggs so possibly an extra one in there. After the very warm first half of the summer, we have had a miserable end of July/start of August and today is really quite cold and wet. Feeding of the young is infrequent today, almost certainly due to the weather so I’m keeping a close eye. Hopefully I will be able to bring you news and pictures of the young leaving the nest next week.
Best wishes Tom

July 2017

27 July 2017 – Wimborne, United Kingdom – Lovely photo of 4 of our second brood outside being fed
We are so privileged to have this in our stables
Carol Fenemore
Barn Swallow fledglings Aug 2017

23 July 2017 – Mount Moreland, South Africa – Lesser striped Swallows arriving – Eve

30 July 2017 – Gervais, USA – We have always had Barn Swallow nests on the porch.  Sometimes 6 of them.  This year there were none!  One Swallow swooped through but left. There are several violet green swallows in the area.
I miss our swallows and their broods.  I hope next year we will see and hear them again.
Carole LaBarr
27 July 2017 – Wimborne, Dorset, United Kingdom – Our second swallow brood have successfully Fledged, all Five !
They seem to be going for the record this year 5 in first and second brood 👍Think they may be considering 3rd brood
Carol Fenemore
Baby Barn Swallows Aug 2017

15 July 2017 – Lapland (Finland) – I am in Lapland (Finland) doing a swim in the arctic circle. We are staying in a campsite in a wooden cabin. A family of Barn Swallows has a nest on a beam on the porch. They are busy all day collecting food for their tiny babies (looks like 3). The Mum and Dad are not happy with our presence, and very protective of their babies. We cannot sit on the porch because they swoop down at us right up to our faces as if to attack us. We have to sit inside as we don’t want them to feel threatened by us. I hope other guests are this sympathetic.

I always come to Mt Moreland when I visit my Mum Anne and brother Nibs van der Spuy.
Mauro Stefanutti
Barn Swallows in Finland July 2017

15 July 2017 – UK – Our Barn Swallows are now onto a second brood. There are 5 eggs in the nest and the female started incubating on Wednesday. The first brood have left the area, having returned to roost for around 7 days after fledging before being chased away quite aggressively by the parents. It is quite interesting how the adult birds suddenly turn on the young and become quite distressed by their presence. They use alarm calls to try and disperse them and attack them whilst making a hissing sound as if trying to see off a potential predator. I did film this but can’t seem to send it unfortunately.

Will let you know when that second clutch hatches.
Best wishes
Tom
June 2017

30 June 2017 – Latest news from Brittany, France – ; the swallows who nested in the boiler house reared 4 chicks which successfully fledged 13 June and slowly over the next week or so built up their flying hours. Then a new couple arrived and there was a lot of breathtaking fighting between the two males fighting over the boiler house site.  The speed and skill of the these two males was incredible.  White feathers were on the ground and this fighting continued over several days  Then the family disappeared and there is now a new couple sitting on eggs downstairs in the boiler room in an old nest from last summer.

Over the courtyard in an old granite stable are our later arrivals. They had 5 chicks to start with, one fell out of the nest and died as I did not find him in time. A week later in extreme heat 33c, I checked on them and saw another fallen out of the nest and popped him back in. Today in wind and rain, four chicks had their maiden flight out of the stable, flew about for about 8 seconds, landed on the window sill and looked about. A few seconds more of flying and then they went back into the stable.
There seems to be plenty of birds around this year compared to the last few years, not just swallows but swifts and garden birds.
Regards Ella

27 June 2017 – UK – Baby Swallows fledged this morning, 4 in total. Picture of 3 of them attached, pouring down with rain this evening so they are widely staying inside and dry!
Best wishes Tom
Barn Swallow fledglings June 2017

17 June 2017 – Yorkshire – UK – Up here it has been a bit mixed with a dry April and then May has been a bit of a wash out according to Mrs Mac. However when she says that she means at the weekends, as I am obviously not here every weekend, and therefore I did not feel it to be so bad, with some sun during the week. Anyway currently we are in the midst of a “Spanish plume” which means hot  air being pushed up from Spain and the Sahara, so currently as I type 30c in London, and even 24c up here in Yorkshire. It is even hotter in Europe with Madrid at 44c.

Anyway as far as Barn Swallows are concerned they are just rearing their first clutch with approximately 14 birds currently in ours and our neighbours barns. Interestingly what have turned up are our Swifts which arrived about 2 weeks ago. We sent out 14 in late August  and all have made the trip down to central Africa and back without loss which is fantastic – I wish our Swallows were as successful ! When we bought this property there were no Swifts here and we have tried to encourage them to stay with us, with nest box etc but they did not want to stop, and that was 2004. Then 3years ago a pair stayed and brought up 3 young and since then the numbers keep on growing. However they do not use the special Swift RSPB Swifts nests we put up preferring to make their own!

Kind regards Mac

13 June 2017 – UK – First baby Barn Swallows visible in the nest today.Barn Swallow babies June 2017 They are 9 days old. Temperatures on the rise by our standards (25c) and the carport is getting pretty warm, always something to worry about with them! Sorry my photos are only from my phone and not that great.

I also thought you might be interested to see a wooden carving of a swallow that my parents had made for my 40th birthday which was in May. I also include photos of some ceramics we have on the kitchen wall that I found in France a few years ago.
Best wishes
Tom
ceramic Barn Swallows

9 June 2017 – Fledging Barn Swallows Wimborne Dorset UK – Five all ready to fledge real soon, fingers crossed for next brood! Carol Fenemore
Barn Swallows Wimborne Dorset UK June 2017

7 June 2017 – A Barn Swallow update from Wherwell Hampshire, UK
After the early return our Barn Swallow pair looked set to begin breeding in late April. Initially 3 eggs were laid, however the female stopped laying and then began to reline the nest. Not sure what caused this, possibly the cold snap we had or alternatively something happened to the female and the male attracted a new mate. Impossible to say but 5 eggs were then laid in mid May which hatched last Sunday (photo below of broken eggshells below found under the nest). Continuous feeding of the young is now underway by both parents. Yesterday was tough for them as we had unseasonably heavy winds and rain and both parents were taking at least 10 minutes to return to the nest with food. Happily the weather is better today so I hope the young will be fine.

On a different point, I have been awoken at around by 4am by the close sound of the male singing a kind of sub song as part of the dawn chorus. I got up on Saturday to see where he was because it sounded so close and found that he has taken to sitting on edge of my daughters’ trampoline just outside the kitchen window in the garden! Photo below, not great because of the lack of light but something I’ve not observed before and a strange choice of song post given it is not especially high and not adjacent to the nest site.
Best wishes
Tom
Barn Swallow news UK June 2017

5 June 2017 – UK

The Barn Swallows

The swallows have not come this year.
I wonder what the problem is.
On earth the killers stalk the streets.
Our rulers send us pious tweets.
Parents weep and children shriek
While this planet falls apart.
Perhaps the birds have sensed the worst
And hence decided to depart.

Reginald Massey

May 2017

29 May 2011 – It has been a wonderful start for the swallows here in NW France. Weather has been reasonable so far and considering they had an awful year last year both in Europe and SA I am glad things are starting off well.  We have 2 nesting couples, both pairs built new nests in the most tucked away places,so I can not see much.  Eggs must of hatched over the weekend as both parents are in full feeding mode today. It is the first time we have had a second nesting couple.  Even my neighbours have a nest for the first time in 15 years.  Look forward to fledglings in about 2 weeks time.
So far so good Regards Ella

Mid Wales: Thursday, May 25, 2017 – Better late than never.
This morning a swallow arrived at my garage here in Mid Wales.
However, one swallow does not a summer make.
Will keep you updated.
Reginald

24 May 2017 – Dorset – UK – First Baby Barn Swallows seen. Carol Fenemore
First young Barn Swallows Dorset UK May 2017

23 May 2017 – Dorset – UK – Barn Swallows eggs are hatching. found this on floor in stables
Carol Fenemore
Barn Swallow hatchlings Dorset UK May 2017

23 May 2017 – Barnsley South Yorkshire – UK
1 Pair arrived 26th April 2017
2nd Pair arrived 12th May 2017
These were roughly 3 weeks late they usually arrive 12,13,14 April.
However they have arrived which is very pleasing. I am sure they will raise 2 clutches of young birds.

They weather here at the moment is quite warm and the crops of corn in the fields are growing which will ,be harvested before they leave giving them a good supply of flying insects for their long migratory journey back to SA.

Peter Clarney

14 May 2017 – UK – The first Barn Swallow chicks hatched today.
Regards Val.

2 May 2017 – First Barn Swallow nest Dorset UK May 2017 – Regards Carol
First Barn Swallow nest Dorset UK May 2017

April 2017

26 April 2017 – UK – First nesting Swallows – Regards Tom
Nesting Barn Swallows UK April 2017

25 April 2017 – Yorkshire UK – SWALLOW RETURN DOES NOT A SUMMER MAKE – To affirm that Swallow returns do not a summer make!
Please see photos this morning from home with a light covering of snow. Unsurprisingly the Swallows were in the barn with the air temp at 0c.
Weather expected to stay mixed this week with -2c forecast for nights up to Thursday. This sudden plunge in temp is covering all mainland UK but less so in Ireland so I do not think our Swallows will be the only ones wrapping up warm !
Kind regards Mac

Bad weather Uk April 2017 hits Barn Swallows

22 April 2017 – UK – Unfortunately arctic winds are coming in next week with temperatures due to plummet, 9c maximum here and overnight frosts. Your contributors in the north could have snow. The joys of the British climate! Our birds are definitely getting ready to breed, the female is already lining the artificial nest but progress could be slowed next week with this cold blast.
Best wishes Tom

20 April 2017 – UK – Our female Barn Swallow returned yesterday, exactly a week later than the male. The pair are prospecting the artificial nest that was used last year and judging by the amount of excitement and courtship behaviour I don’t think it will be long before breeding gets underway. In the 4 summers we have lived here this is by far the earliest that the pair bond has established and this behaviour begun, last year (very cold Spring) it wasn’t until mid May.

No sign of our House Martins returning yet and funnily enough they were prospecting nests this time last year.
Best wishes
Tom

18 April 2017 – Yorkshire, UK – Picture of first returnee. We have also now got two more arrivals as well so summer in the high Pennines is looking as though it has truly arrived, with a beautiful sunny day to day, but temp of -3c last night so quite a change for a young Swallow used to Durban +30c. All the best.
Kind regards
Mac
Barn Swallows arrive Yorkshire UK 18 April 2017

18 April 2017 – Wimborne, Dorset, UK – One of our returning swallows resting on horse shelter, we are so privileged to have them return for so many years.
Carol Fenemore
Barn Swallows arrive UK 18 April 2017

15 April 2017 -UK – Swallow numbers are increasing now and there are at least 3 males flying over the village and many others in the neighbouring villages. I’ve just had a near horror moment though as I went out to the carport in the dark to put some rubbish into the bin and had no idea there was a bird roosting in there and I badly startled him (I assume a male but couldn’t see in the dark) with my torch. He flew around in the dark and collided with the beams before finally managing to perch safely. For a horrible few seconds I feared he was going to come to harm and such a relief when he landed!  Great that this is likely to be our returning male but I will not be visiting the carport in the dark with my torch again this Summer!.

Best wishes
Tom

15 April 2017 – Yorkshire,UK – our first Swallow returned 15/4 and wine was partaken toBarn Swallows arrive Yorkshire UK April 2017 celebrate its return. Ironically when I was away last weekend, and we were supposed to have snow as you may recall, the weather was perfect, with unseasonably warm temps in the mid 20,sc. Easter Sunday however is forecast to be cold with rain and snow showers, so our friend from South Africa did not bring the good weather with him ! We only have the one back so far, but he looks healthy and I would guess has done the trip a couple of times judging by length of tail feathers.

Kind regards Mac

13 April 2017 – Mount Moreland, KZN, South Africa – Surprise show of Barn Swallows 4.30pm, no roosting, cold front hitting with temperatures dropping sharply, first taste of winter after ridiculously high temperatures.

6 April 2017 – Zinkwazi – South Africa – Reports of mass sightings of Barn Swallows with the rain – Byron Bell

3 April 2017 – Editor South Africa – Temperatures still incredibly hot at 34°C and some reports of Barn Swallows sighted down the coast at Winklespruit but at Mount Moreland there have been no more sightings.

Reports are being received on early Barn Swallow arrivals in the Northern hemisphere and all writers comment that this is early, see Arrivals North on Global Records
Thank you to all who have taken the time to notice and record arrivals

March 2017

28 March 2017 – Barn Swallow Season CLOSED as of 28 March 2017 due to virtual NO SHOW of Barn Swallows since 15 December 2016, this is far from the normal Barn Swallow experience that we want you to see and has caused much upset with expectant spectators. This is a first on record of such.
Arrivals in Northern hemisphere already reported
Possible reasons for this are: Drought, Polluted river. rain too late – Swallows settled elsewhere. Lower than normal water levels in Lake Victoria

Please revisit November 2017 on the return migration from Europe

26 March 2017 – Brittany, France – Two Swallows arrived on Sunday evening (26th March). They were sitting together on the cable outside our house and we have seen them flying around since then. We are not sure at the moment if they are our neighbour’s Swallows. Their arrival is a week later than last year, but still earlier than usual.

We are sorry to hear that your season with these lovely birds hasn’t been good and do hope they are okay. The weather here has been warm and sunny and it is so nice to see the Swallows again.
Kind regards,
Veronica & John

22 March 2017 – California, USA – Today around 7PM one Barn Swallow returned to the nest which has been their Summer home since 2003. The weather here has been cold and rainy. I have not seen any flying insects, hope the weather will clear up before more Barn Swallows arrive. Love your website and the good work you do.THANK you very much.
Sincerely, Joyce Richman

14 March 2017 – Rosslare Strand Co Wexford Ireland – Unbelievably, we’ve seen our first barn swallows today!! This is very early for us. It’s usually early in April.
Best wishes Ethel Dwyer

13 March 2017 – UK – Two swallows sighted above Billesdon, East Leicestershire, UK, heading north. Extremely early arrival but weather is mild for mid-March – 16C.
Audrey Walker

11 March 2017 – South Africa – Hi Everyone, in an earlier post someone said that she saw swallows with neurological signs or that died around Kyalami. I am a virologist at the department medical virology, University of Pretoria and work on mosquito transmitted viruses that can infect humans and animals. You may be aware that there is currently an increase of cases of Sindbis virus in the North of Johannesburg with many cases detected in humans. Typically Sindbis present with a rash and fever as well as headache and joint pains and is mostly mild in humans. There have also been cases of West Nile virus which looks the same in humans but in about 1% of cases result in more severe disease such as meningitis or other neurological symptoms. WNV, Sindbis as well as a number of other viruses such as Middelburg virus, Shuni and Equine encephalosis virus can also infect horses and result in fever as well as more severe neurological signs. These viruses are mostly transmitted from birds to mosquitoes then to humans and horses. Horses and humans can’t infect mosquitoes again though and are dead end hosts. My lab do surveillance for these viruses in horses and other animals in the country as a way to detect outbreaks early. We have over the last month detected West Nile virus as well as Middelburg virus cases in horses around Gauteng, KZN, Freestate and the Northern Cape. We are interested to investigate the neurological cases in birds, in particularly swallows to see if it is related. If you see any birds with neurological signs you can contact the state vet, Dr Geertsma, he will bring it to my lab. His number is 0824550835 or contact me. If you pick up dead swallows that are still fresh you can just place it in a plastic bag in an ice cream container or similar and place on an ice/ice brick in a cooler or in the fridge. Its best to use a plastic bag to pick them up not your hands.
You can find more information on my lab at www.zoonosesresearchunit.up.ac.za

6 March 2017 – Spain – Some more Barn Swallows arrived last week, including the ones who live over the TV.  They have been very happy and very chatty. Sadly  two days ago, on a day when we had a lot of rain, she did not return home.  She did not return the next day.  I had not realised after all these years I would be so affected, we were all so sad.

Last night he had come home and was sitting very dejected  on the top of a wall close to the TV, when she quietly crept in and sat close to him.  He moved and turned his back to her.  Not a sound from either. No jubilant reunion.

This morning all is back to normal, lots of chatting and obvious happiness.  Had she gone off with someone else for a couple of days?  Does anyone know.  I had assumed the worse, and thought she was dead.  I cannot imagine she got lost as she can find her way back thousands of kilometres.  The silence of her entry, and him turning away from her, was completely abnormal.  If they every do come home separately there is always lots of joyous chatter in their reunion.

Kind Regards Pauline.

6 March 2017 – UK – I noticed you had a few more Barn Swallows arrive yesterday and hopefully this might signal the onset of the migration for you? Really hope they return for you over the next 6 weeks or so.

Interestingly there have been some early sightings in the UK (see link below) and it is not common to see as many arrivals as this in a range of locations is during the first week of March (there have also been a number of House Martin and Sand Martin sightings, very uncommon for House Martins in particular to arrive so early, Sand Martins less so). You can also see that there was a solitary sighting in January and the odd bird does seem to linger through the winter and presumably perish eventually. Would be fascinating to know if these early March arrivals are birds that have wintered in southern Europe (I believe a very small number do this) or if they have returned from further afield and either way why they have returned early as temperatures are currently around 5-7 Celsius and far from suitable for swallows so their survival prospects must be relatively poor.

I will keep monitoring and let you know when I see my first swallow, normally not until the end of March or early April.
Best wishes Tom

3 March 2017 – UK – Thought you might like to hear (or not) this but the BTO Migration Blog for 3r March has a report of 3nr House Martins a handful of Sand Martins and ONE Swallow reported on the South Coast.
Cheers Mac

February 2017
28 Feb 2017 – Rutland Water, near Oakham, Rutland, UK – Subject: Sand Martin
A sand martin sighted at Rutland Water yesterday (28th Feb.) I do realize you do not monitor martins but this is incredibly early so can the swallows be far behind?
 Audrey Walker

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