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Showing posts with label house martin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label house martin. Show all posts

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Migrant birds

Around this time most of our summer migrant birds are heading south for warmer weather and more insects. Most swifts will have gone now to return here at the end of April or the start of May next year.

Today I saw a swallow and that may be the last this year. Some young birds may be around for a few weeks and it is just possible some may remain in South Devon and South Cornwall all year. Just a few may survive on the coast where there may be insects near seaweed all year. I once saw some swallows in South Devon on Dec 7th but that is very late. No, most are now gone to return next spring, at least gone from East Anglia. Some travel thousands of miles all the way to South Africa - a truly remarkable journey -  often returning to the very same next site they left. Quite remarkable.

The migration of birds is almost miraculous. I am sorry to see them leave but my heart is always glad when they return.

Of course, to some birds we are seen as warm! The Whooper and Bewick swans join us for our winter as do the fieldfares and redwings.

If really lucky, we might even see a waxwing. I keep looking but have failed so far. Some winters there are thousands, but I have not been lucky, as yet. They are often seen on berries in supermarket car parks. You just have to be in the right place at the right time.

See .

There is something good in every season.

UPDATE 1750z:  There were 2 swallows overhead in the pleasant afternoon sunshine.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Late swallows and house martins

Earlier this week I sat next to the Mere in Knutsford. Cheshire. Several swallows and house martins were seen. Most swifts have now gone south, but it was good to see so many swallows and house martins still around. There was even a nest with 3 young martins in at Little Morton Hall.

In past years I have seen house martins in the South Hams (Devon) as late as the end of October. One year there were still swallows near Salcombe, Devon as late as Dec 7th. Not living in the South Hams, I don't know how common this is i.e. this late. The return of house martins, swallows and swifts is something I welcome each year but sadly at this time of year we bid these migratory birds farewell before they fly thousands of hostile miles to lands with more plentiful insect food. With the Sahara getting bigger their migration routes are getting more and more hazardous. There seem fewer of these birds than there used to be, presumably as more die on migration.

Fare thee well little friends and see you again next spring when the cycle of life goes on, I pray. The return of these little fellows between early April to early May fills me with renewed hope and joy. I tend to have tears in my eyes when the swifts return. I pray I'll be around to see these return in the spring.
Since my stroke a year ago, these simple affirmations of the continuance of the cycle of life mean even more. I guess I am more aware of how finite our lives are.  Somehow I think Henry Williamson was right about the cycle of life.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


For the last week or more, swifts have been a common sight on the wing in the skies overhead. Swifts return from Africa around the end of April and the start of May. Usually, most have gone again by late summer, although I suspect many linger in Spain where in September they are still plentiful as are insects.

At this time of year swifts are very common, perhaps more common than many other species. There are a good number of swallows around, but, so far, I have not seen a single house martin. I may just have been unlucky but fear numbers are down yet again. The returning swifts are a real sign of summer. As the poem goes, "all's well with the world...".

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Swifts, swallows and martins

Swallow (sometimes called Barn Swallow)
For me, spring never properly arrives until these have arrived on UK shores. Sand martins are already being seen in  Devon (first arrivals in March) but swallows are rarely here much before early April,  usually about April 10th in East Anglia. Usually I get to Devon at this time of the year just as the swallows arrive from S.Africa. This year, because of my poor health,  I shall have to give this a miss.

Swifts are rarely here before the end of the month of April. Once here, swifts seem to be everywhere! I love to hear their screams on the wing. To me, the swift is a real summer bird and a sign that "all is well with the world" when they arrive.



Numbers of house martins have been down in recent years.