July 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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