[2020] Arrival of Swallows and House Martins

  • Well captured Mike, so hard to catch these super fast birds on camera. I'm still getting over the thrill of seeing the pair of swallows that usually perch on the overhead wires by our rental property on the ground for a few seconds yesterday early evening ! my eyes are bad but I had binoculars to make sure and no mistaking that banana shape, red throat and long wings !

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    HAZY said:
    Well captured Mike, so hard to catch these super fast birds on camera. I'm still getting over the thrill of seeing the pair of swallows that usually perch on the overhead wires by our rental property on the ground for a few seconds yesterday early evening ! my eyes are bad but I had binoculars to make sure and no mistaking that banana shape, red throat and long wings !

    I'm happy to say, it was pure luck, after taking many, actually, lots and lots photos.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • Swallows, Swifts and House Martins today (10-05-2020) at gravel pit near Sawston. Were around a week or so ago too. Both times in strong wind.
  • Crag Martins around mid-March here (Switzerland, at 800+ metres).
    Barn Swallows around April 10.
    Common Swifts (and a pair of Sand Martins) earlier this week (Alpines arrived earlier (a few weeks) at a lower altitude).
    No House Martins as yet. An acquaintance tells me that there are none in the village we used to live in, where there should be a very large number.
    The Common Swifts arrived here in very large numbers. Like they'd rented coaches or something.
  • May 12th
    We used to have about 20 pairs of house martins nesting around my mother’s house in Kintbury, West Berks.
    Last year numbers were depleted to about half.
    This year the colony has still not returned despite there being some passing through the area, On Hungerford (Portdown) Common about 2 miles away, martins, swallows and swifts are happily congregating in large numbers to feed (near the sewage station adjacent to the Kennet and Avon Canal.)
    I saw one pair of martins here towards end April fly in and out of one of the nests; but even they seem to have moved on. And, as others report, a growing number of sparrows are taking up residence in the empty nests. So, if/when the martins return there’s going to be a bit of a bun-fight.
    I feel very sad that none of ‘our’ martins have yet arrived; let’s just hope they’ve postponed travel arrangements to a safer date!
    Kate, Kintbury.
  • I live in north Bedfordshire. House martins arrived on 10th April, swallows on 11th April and swifts on 25th April (at least this is when I first noticed them and I do keep an eye out for them from beginning of April onwards). There seem to be fewer house martins than in previous years.
  • In reply to doctormark7:

    doctormark7 said:
    There seem to be fewer house martins than in previous years

    Here (Switzerland) there's a national initiative to locate and count colonies of House Martins and Barn Swallows (I think they're the only species that are part of the initiative).

    I've volunteered to help with this count in this area, and will at some point have access (I imagine) to some broader data.

    I'll share it here when I have it.

    Anecdotal: it appears that certain colonies here have, well, disappeared, while others are looking as healthy as last year (and previous years).

    All the best -

    Dave

  • Thanks for reminding me of that, Robbo. And I will keep an eye on it and let you and others know what I find out.

    I don't believe there's been a detailed record carried out in this municipality, so there won't be comparators there. But it's part of a larger (national) project, and even quite early on I would hope to learn something about what's going on in a larger area (the part of the project I've volunteered for is being run by a regional reserve (we live just outside it).

    Concrete findings would, of course, mean real figures on the House Sparrow population. If they exist, the'll probably be in the same drawer as the hen's teeth...

  • Just registered so new to this , but delighted to say that for the first time ever we have some house martins at our place . They arrived yesterday and are nest building on the side of a window vent ( not ideal ) but having read about them being on an Amber status and in decline we are honoured to have them here . We’ve seen them locally in previous years but never here . Swallows arrived mid April and are nesting in their usual shed . Mid Pembrokeshire , Wales.
  • Our housemartins (I thought swallows) usually arrive April & as we live in a rural village in NE Scotland next to a field most of the houses in our street have nests (we all mostly have pitched parts to our rooves) anyway this year no sign until a few weeks ago- a pair started to build a nest which is very late! We noticed a lot of the ‘mud’ on our window sill & drive but saw a bird sitting on almost a ledge. It’s quite windy here but if I’m out sunbathing I see them going to the nest-I didn’t see them today & not finished & don’t see others & their ‘ ch ch’ sound although I know their poo! Something is wrong- any ideas?