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Posted
  • Location: Atherstone on Stour: 160ft asl
  • Location: Atherstone on Stour: 160ft asl

    I count myself rather lucky at the moment as my study window looks out over the farmyard, and the skies are now full of circling swallows. Naturally they've been here all summer & I've got used to there regular patterns and behaviour. However, this week it's all change, groups of 20-40 have started gathering on the phone wires & just seem to be waiting around.

    When do they decide to head South ? Do they wait until the whole farmyard's ready or do the go in dribs & drabs ?? Departure is imminent I'd say.

    Anyone else have some observations ?

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
    I count myself rather lucky at the moment as my study window looks out over the farmyard, and the skies are now full of circling swallows. Naturally they've been here all summer & I've got used to there regular patterns and behaviour. However, this week it's all change, groups of 20-40 have started gathering on the phone wires & just seem to be waiting around.

    When do they decide to head South ? Do they wait until the whole farmyard's ready or do the go in dribs & drabs ?? Departure is imminent I'd say.

    Anyone else have some observations ?

    Ah, swallow - they're the best aren't they! We await their return, we miss them when they go. We even get to 'know' some - the early arriving male we had in the late 90's that wouldn't leave until driven off in early October.

    I suspect (and it's only that) that some have gone already. Otoh, I rekon some pairs will still be feeding young for some time. I think, like arrival, departure has a peak time but that a lot of birds leave either side of that time.

    Swifts long gone of course, house martins still brooding and probably for a month yet.

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    Posted
  • Location: Doncaster 50 m asl
  • Location: Doncaster 50 m asl
    swifts have all but gone, they go early.

    I have kept a note of the arrival/departure dates of the swifts, swallows and house martins in my part of Doncaster since 1994.

    Swifts not seen in Doncaster for 3 days now so I assume that they left on 17 August. Swallows and HM still here.

    2006, the swifts were still here on 24 August

    2005, no swifts from 21 August

    2004, no swifts from 18 August

    2003, no swifts from 30 August

    2002, no swifts from 18 August

    2001, no swifts from 31 August

    I remember asking Tony Soper, in 2004, what the earlier departure of the swifts meant. "It means that they will arrive in Africa earlier!" was his answer. :)

    Earlier records are in another location at the moment.

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    Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......

    Tony Soper??? My first ever bird book was by him so he must be pretty crinkly by now! Top geezer by the way (IMHO) and all the more for his swift 'swift' response!

    I love the way the Swallows do their low level feeding, they are as agile as the bats (that are feeding/teaching their wee ones to feed )at the moment.

    I grew up with House Martins nesting under our eaves each summer and boy are they noisey (the young) a 3a.m. of a morning!!!

    Fun to watch the young trying to fly back into their nests the forst few goes (abort,abort,pull up ,pull up, splat.....)

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    Posted
  • Location: Atherstone on Stour: 160ft asl
  • Location: Atherstone on Stour: 160ft asl
    I have kept a note of the arrival/departure dates of the swifts, swallows and house martins in my part of Doncaster since 1994.

    Swifts not seen in Doncaster for 3 days now so I assume that they left on 17 August. Swallows and HM still here.

    2006, the swifts were still here on 24 August

    2005, no swifts from 21 August

    2004, no swifts from 18 August

    2003, no swifts from 30 August

    2002, no swifts from 18 August

    2001, no swifts from 31 August

    I remember asking Tony Soper, in 2004, what the earlier departure of the swifts meant. "It means that they will arrive in Africa earlier!" was his answer. :o

    Earlier records are in another location at the moment.

    Cheers snowsure, very interesting, I'm also starting a record here.

    Swallows & HMs thinned out here dramatically since my 1st post yesterday. Doubt I've seen a dozen today, so there goes my theory that they all go together !!

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    According to this if your Swallows are going already, then they're really quite early.... do they know something we don't know?

    http://www.bto.org/birdtrack/recording_yea...n_migration.htm

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    Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......

    Had avery noisy awakening this a.m. with 2 or 3 Swallow families bullying their offspring into flight. 3 weeks early for them massing to leave but it felt like that type of 'moot' on watching them. Certainly impatient for their young to be 'up an' at 'em'.

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    Posted
  • Location: Atherstone on Stour: 160ft asl
  • Location: Atherstone on Stour: 160ft asl
    According to this if your Swallows are going already, then they're really quite early.... do they know something we don't know?

    http://www.bto.org/birdtrack/recording_yea...n_migration.htm

    Great link, cheers Jethro. They've not gone yet, just seem to have thinned out a bit. Saw about 7-8 of them mobbing a Sparrowhawk yesterday, he gave up and flew off. :lol: Wuss.

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    Posted
  • Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales
  • Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales

    Dunno whether this year's been unusual: when I was a kid (60s/70s), we used to see them lining up on telephone cables in Norfolk round now (i.e., last two weeks of summer hols). However, if they are departing early this year, it's possibly related to the awful breeding season: feeding young keeps them tied to their nest sites, but if there are no young, they'll head back to southern Africa asap.

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    Posted
  • Location: Gravesend
  • Location: Gravesend
    According to this if your Swallows are going already, then they're really quite early.... do they know something we don't know?

    http://www.bto.org/birdtrack/recording_yea...n_migration.htm

    The Migration charts seem to have dates for the likes of Swallows and Swifts very late on departure. Normally the Swifts have gone before the August bank Holidays. Swallows tend to head off late September. So I would say that the people that have sent in the reports to the BTO dont know the difference between these birds and have in fact reported House Martins. Any thoughts on this.

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    Posted
  • Location: Doncaster 50 m asl
  • Location: Doncaster 50 m asl
    The Migration charts seem to have dates for the likes of Swallows and Swifts very late on departure. Normally the Swifts have gone before the August bank Holidays. Swallows tend to head off late September. So I would say that the people that have sent in the reports to the BTO dont know the difference between these birds and have in fact reported House Martins. Any thoughts on this.

    Always a possibility. However I assume that people accessing the BTO website do so as they have an acceptable level of ornithological knowledge, unlike the avergae man in the street who doesn't know the difference between a House sparrow and a Dunnock.

    I must agree that the dates seem quite late in the year. I would like to see a year-on-year variation chart for the most common/easily recognisable species. Trends are always better than snap-shot pictures IMO.

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    Posted
  • Location: Saddleworth, Oldham , 175m asl
  • Weather Preferences: warm and sunny, thunderstorms, frost, fog, snow, windstorms
  • Location: Saddleworth, Oldham , 175m asl

    Still House Martins and Swallows here and saw and heard Swifts in Ayrshire on the 26th.

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    Posted
  • Location: Atherstone on Stour: 160ft asl
  • Location: Atherstone on Stour: 160ft asl

    I'm down to about 6-7 Housemartins now. Probably too old to fly south.

    Incidentally, a pigeon has just hatched 2 chicks (squabs) in a hazel tree in my garden, rather late in the year don't you think ?

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    Posted
  • Location: Warminster, Wiltshire
  • Location: Warminster, Wiltshire

    Have noticed a lot more Swallows in the last few (pleasantly warm, sunny) afternoons than during most of the summer. Possibly due to those stopping off en route from further North to enjoy conditions that are perfect for flies/bugs?

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    Posted
  • Location: Kent
  • Location: Kent
    Have noticed a lot more Swallows in the last few (pleasantly warm, sunny) afternoons than during most of the summer. Possibly due to those stopping off en route from further North to enjoy conditions that are perfect for flies/bugs?

    My lot were less in number this year and they didn't nest in the eaves of the house like that have in prevous years either. :)

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    Posted
  • Location: Cambridgeshire Fens. 3m ASL
  • Location: Cambridgeshire Fens. 3m ASL

    Quite a few Swallows perched on the power cables outside our place a few days ago. Looking rather fed up with the weather. Maybe they were thinking they won't come here for a holiday again after this summer. :)

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    Posted
  • Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales
  • Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales

    Down here the feral pigeons breed all year.

    My Dad (who lives in East Sussex) said earlier that he saw a massive group of swallows chasing flying ants earlier this afternoon (well he saw a lot of swallows zipping around after something and later saw loads of flying ants dropping down) so he assumed that they were taking the opportunity to stock up before crossing the channel this evening. They haven't seen any swallows for a couple of weeks before this, so are assuming by this time that its migrants from farther north.

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    Posted
  • Location: Ash, Surrey/Hampshire Border Farnborough 4 miles
  • Weather Preferences: All
  • Location: Ash, Surrey/Hampshire Border Farnborough 4 miles

    I saw some baby coots last Saturday. Seems a bit late?

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    Posted
  • Location: Atherstone on Stour: 160ft asl
  • Location: Atherstone on Stour: 160ft asl
    I saw some baby coots last Saturday. Seems a bit late?

    Same as my pigeons Androcles, 2nd brood obviously. Unfortunately an early frost will usually kill them off.

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