14 Dec 2015

VERY late swallow - NOT amateur radio

According to my report on Devon birds, I see a swallow was sighted in Slapton, Devon on Dec 11th 2015. This is very late. It was probably from a late brood and stayed because of the mild weather. There have been rare, late, swallows before living off insects around seaweed in Cornwall, but I not aware of any proven records of over-wintering swallows staying in the UK. With our winters getting less cold it will happen some day.

The image is located at https://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/swallow_tcm9-18469.jpg?width=530&crop=(44,262,948,770) . If linking to it is problematic please let me know and I will remove the link.  I hope the free RSPB publicity is appreciated!

I have seen swallows in Devon in early December at Bolt Head, near Salcombe. Most make the hazardous journey to South Africa each September and return in April to these shores. Some arrive earlier, but most arrive by mid April, with swifts a few weeks later.

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/s/swallow/ .


John -GW3OIN. said...

Hello Roger.
I am aware of a Swallow being recorded in Cornwall as late as January (17th). However, as you say, I am not aware of any lasting into the spring. No doubt those seen at this time of year, a relatively common occurrence, are from a very late brood, plus the fact that there are still insects to provide food.
Kind regards.
John - GW3OIN.

Roger G3XBM said...

Hi John. I am no bird expert but I do hope some make it through the winter. The Scillies would be my bet: mild climate and lots of seaweed and insects! We must keep looking at the records in the years ahead.

John - GW3OIN. said...

Hi Roger.
This has set me thinking. Do the birds we see very late in the year stay on and perish, or do they in fact move south ? One associates swallows going to South Africa but there is probably no need for them to go so far south.
I have a particular interest in Ospreys and know that the UK population tends to spend the winter months in West Africa, in the area around Senegal and Gambia (could do with them for my QRP DXCC). However, what is not so well recognised is that a few birds will not bother to go any further than the south of France, Spain or Portugal (got those). On the same basis , will some Swallows spend the winter nearer home ? This is something I must try to find out.
John - GW3OIN.

Roger G3XBM said...

Interesting question John. We need to know if there are swallow records in S.France, Spain and Morocco (for example) I guess. I've seen swallows in S.Africa and swifts late in the autumn in Spain.