5 Aug 2013

One Swallow makes my summer

I've just returned back from a fantastic week in Tenerife with Mrs W and her sister and her boyfriend. Not much serious birding but some good sightings none the less. My main priority wasn't the birds but the diving as  I hadn't been for a couple of years and needed to keep my qualifications up to date. I had a great couple of days with the highlights being a school of 200 + Barracuda, close encounters with Green Turtles and finding a Seahorse - apparently rarely seen off Tenerife.

Whilst away John emailed me to say he'd ringed another couple of broods of Swallows on the farm at West Kirby and would I like to join him on Sunday to ring the final brood and try and catch a few adults. Would I ever.

We've developed a cunning plan to catch the adults after trying unsuccessfully to 'flick' them for a few seasons. We now stick a 3 m mist net up in the out buildings and over the last couple of years have caught a few adults each season.

The photo's below were all taken by John Elliot apart from the last two:

 Me inspecting one of the nests in the 'Tractor Shed'
 Swallow pullus

Highlight of the day was catching adult male Swallow Y158601, first ringed by me on 22 July 2012 and re-trapped this year 12 June 2013 and 4 August 2013. It was an adult when ringed in 2012 so is at least in its 3rd calendar year and could be older. Its hard to imagine this little bird has made the return trip from S Africa a minimum of twice in its life and returned to the same farm in West Kirby. You can imagine it arriving in S France and thinking this is far enough!

Another interesting thing about this bird was its very rufous underparts - see my photo's below:

Compare it to another adult Swallow ringed at the same site on the same day.

Good luck little birds & hopefully we'll see you back again next year.

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