9 Jun 2014

A single Swallow has made my summer

We went back to the farm t oring some more Swallow chicks recently. 2 nests with good healthy chicks. As well as the chicks we try and catch a few adults hoping to get a returning bird from a previous year.

This time we were lucky as we caught an adult female I'd ringed as an adult in 2013. Showing incredible site fidelity she was back nesting in the same stable block. Being ringed as an adult in 2013 means she's made the trans-Saharan crossing to South Africa and back a minimum of two times in her life although she could be older.

Unfortunately numbers of breeding pairs are down on previous years and (at the the moment) there are only three occupied nests from a high of 6-7 a few years ago. Its very sad - the farm buildings haven't changed in over a hundred years and there are plenty of vacant nest sites.

The perfect age for ringing:

Birds from this farm have been re-trapped in the Orange Free State, South Africa and Leighton Moss RSPB in Cumbria. Interestingly the Cumbrian bird was ringed as a chick in the nest and later the same year re-trapped  in a Swallow roost at Leighton Moss - ringing recoveries have shown that young birds wander quite long distances throughout the UK before making their first migration and even, as with this bird, heading north rather than meandering south towards the coast.

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