The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Smallholding => Wildlife => Topic started by: Penninehillbilly on April 18, 2019, 02:37:59 am

Title: Swallows
Post by: Penninehillbilly on April 18, 2019, 02:37:59 am
Swallows in the barn this morning. (17th)
Noisy little critters  ;D
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: bj_cardiff on April 18, 2019, 11:39:14 am
I saw my first Tuesday morning and by the afternoon another had arrived - summer must be here :D
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: PhilW on April 18, 2019, 12:33:21 pm
Our first arrived 3rd April, we now have 6 in the stables rebuilding 3 of last years nests. Although they are having to fly some distance to the nearest beck for mud as we have had no rain since the start of March. We are in North Lincs.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: in the hills on April 18, 2019, 01:49:46 pm
Still waiting for ours in Mid Wales.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Anke on April 18, 2019, 02:43:18 pm
First one was in the goatshed yesterday morning (17/04) announcing its presence while I milked. By the evening two were dozing in the rafters and they are now flying about. I really get excited when they are first back, but by July their droppings will be everywhere - incl on my goats! and in particular in the water buckets... but I love them!
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on April 18, 2019, 06:44:25 pm
I've been watching every day for ours to arrive, but nary a twitter.  The wind is due to become a southerly any minute, so they will arrive then.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on April 18, 2019, 08:05:21 pm
Omg omg omg, I read this post and just had to go out side , I'm glad I did, 2 swooping about.
Suddenly I feel so much happier   :excited: :excited:
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Ghdp on April 18, 2019, 09:58:18 pm
yes here in North Wales- saw two on the 16th April. Such a welcome sight
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Penninehillbilly on April 18, 2019, 10:11:05 pm
It's great to see them back isn't it? Don't know what's so special, they just are.
With you there Anke, not so much on the goats, but i leave empty plastic sacks over lots of things,
we get sent out of the barn when we need to do anything in there, to give them a rest from scolding us for an hour  ;D
Hope yours turn up soon FW and ItH, any day now  :)
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on April 28, 2019, 05:17:12 pm
Ten days later, nearly the end of April, and we still have not a single swallow  :'(   There are some just half a mile along the road, but none here.  Last year some didn't arrive until into May, so we're still hopeful, and we look out for them every day.  It's great to be able to hear the other birds going about their days, sounds which are normally drowned out by swallow chatter, but without the swallows I can't believe it's summer, and I can't help but worry that all of 'our' swallows have been wiped out on their epic trip.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on April 28, 2019, 10:18:22 pm
I too am a bit concerned, we now have 3 swallows.
looks like at least one is female , but when will the rest turn up ? the new nest is nearly done I just hope she successful and the eggs don't get stolen by the magpies
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on April 29, 2019, 05:29:48 pm
They're here  :yippee: :yippee: :relief: .  We were watching a sparrow hawk which had leapt out of a shrub a few feet from where we were working in the garden, and we noticed it was being mobbed - by swallows  8) .  It hadn't caught anything in it's ambush, but they went after it anyway. I think 4 may have been from next door, out as a welcoming party for the two new arrivals, but those two are definitely going to investigate their old nest sites in our buildings here.  There was almost a tear in my eye  :'(  plus the smiles  :sunshine:
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Zyg on May 01, 2019, 03:53:47 pm
I think ours arrived at about the same time as OPs - ie two weeks ago - two pairs.
I love watching them swooping into the barn and their low flying around the yard.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on May 01, 2019, 09:09:31 pm
upset, one of the cats 10+ years old has had a swallow, these are cats that share a feed bowl with the black birds ( who eat more cat food than the cats)  >:( >:(
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on May 01, 2019, 09:35:50 pm
upset, one of the cats 10+ years old has had a swallow, these are cats that share a feed bowl with the black birds ( who eat more cat food than the cats)  >:( >:(


That is a shame and horrible to see.  Cats are really bad for birds.  Since our last beautiful cat (of a long line ) died a few years back, not to be replaced, our bird numbers have gone up.  The swallows hated her and they would dive bomb her as she sat prominently, pretending to wash her bum but really poised to leap up at the swallows.  I only saw her catch one. A collar with a bell would have made no difference as the taunting was definitely two sided, with the swallows playing chicken and laughing all the way.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Penninehillbilly on May 02, 2019, 01:38:09 am
upset, one of the cats 10+ years old has had a swallow, these are cats that share a feed bowl with the black birds ( who eat more cat food than the cats)  >:( >:(
Sorry to hear this RtB, hope it wasn't the female, have anymore come back yet?
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on May 02, 2019, 12:44:06 pm
upset, one of the cats 10+ years old has had a swallow, these are cats that share a feed bowl with the black birds ( who eat more cat food than the cats)  >:( >:(
Sorry to hear this RtB, hope it wasn't the female, have anymore come back yet?
Only one more ,know him from last year very distinctive lad.not sure of gender if deceased bird.
Keeping fingers crossed for more to arrive.
This time last year Mrs RTB counted 80 swallows.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on May 13, 2019, 11:12:52 am
Rtb, have any more swallows arrived with you? We have just three still, they are very busy, but numbers are way down on previous years.  I know there are problems for migrating birds especially swallows whose traditional desert watering places are dry, or contaminated, or just not there any more, making their journey almost impossible.
Has anyone else noticed they have fewer swallows this year?
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Penninehillbilly on May 13, 2019, 12:26:42 pm
Ive only seen tbe one pair, usually have a few pairs swooping about, some from the barn up the lane.
Sadly they also net them to eat in some countries dont they,. Horrible thought  :'(
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on May 13, 2019, 03:36:31 pm
Rtb, have any more swallows arrived with you? We have just three still, they are very busy, but numbers are way down on previous years.  I know there are problems for migrating birds especially swallows whose traditional desert watering places are dry, or contaminated, or just not there any more, making their journey almost impossible.
Has anyone else noticed they have fewer swallows this year?

yes more have arrived, we are up to 20ish volume of song getting louder !
I was another farm locally this morning none of theirs have returned and its obvious by the amount of flying insects and the stillness
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on May 13, 2019, 06:42:22 pm
Ive only seen tbe one pair, usually have a few pairs swooping about, some from the barn up the lane.
Sadly they also net them to eat in some countries dont they,. Horrible thought  :'(


It would take several swallows to make a mouthful.  It's hardly a staple food they have to have - more like lark's tongues.  As if swallows don't have enough to make life difficult, without humans adding to their woes.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on May 13, 2019, 09:49:22 pm
well after stacking straw in the steading I had a nap on top of the bales, I woke to a commotion of 2 swallows fighting. I was surprised  at how violent they were  , even trying to knock each other from the rafters by flying directly at each other, and while all this was going on another was collecting straw right next to me totally unperturbed.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: sabrina on May 18, 2019, 03:58:12 pm
My birds have been about 3 wks later on arriving this year.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on May 19, 2019, 02:08:27 am
My birds have been about 3 wks later on arriving this year.


Over the past couple of days, our numbers have increased from 3 to 7.  It sounds as if their journey has been long and hard this year, but they are ecstatic to have arrived - so excited.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Penninehillbilly on May 19, 2019, 11:50:36 am
Good to hear more have made it back, poor things.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on August 27, 2019, 09:34:10 pm
I spent the evening in the steading , it looks like the magpie suppression has paid dividends.its the most birds I have ever seen here. On Monday I counted over a hundred sitting on the roofs sunning themselves,it was a hot still day ,a lazy day just enough effort topping up the waterhole for them.
The red rumped swallows have done well too, time now to put extra mealworm out in preparation for the mas departure in a couple of weeks,there are still a few young ones just fledging.
I think I’ve done my little bit.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on September 02, 2019, 07:45:29 pm
It look like they are starting to go , the dish of mealworm pate not quite empty this evening and a bit quieter, although lots of young ones and sadly newly fledged birds still here .
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Penninehillbilly on September 03, 2019, 12:20:35 am
I'm wondering what happened to the last brood, only seem to have 2 about, but I know they hatched some.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on September 03, 2019, 12:17:02 pm
It look like they are starting to go , the dish of mealworm pate not quite empty this evening and a bit quieter, although lots of young ones and sadly newly fledged birds still here .


Seems early.  Swallows usually leave around the middle of September.  The weather has suddenly turned autumnal here though so perhaps they are getting the itch to fly soon.
We have had late fledgers still here well into October. I think they would still get to their destination as the conditions would be warmer further south and still plenty to eat.  It seemed that other young swallows in the same situation gathered here on their way south and they flew off in a group.  A few more passed through a few days later last year.  I just hoped they would make it.
We have upwards of 40 swallows after a slow start to the year, with birds not arriving until into May.  I haven't noticed any parents still feeding young in the nest at this time, unlike last year.  The most I can remember is about 60.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Scarlet.Dragon on September 04, 2019, 04:54:16 pm
I've got hatchlings in the barn still being parent fed... not sure they'll be ready for migration this year.  Wondering if the parents will hang around and keep feeding them or abandon them for the journey at this point.

Interestingly, right next to this relatively newly built nest (a few weeks max), is a new wasps bike (less than a metre away).  I'm wondering if the swallows built it there for a quick source of food or didn't notice it! 
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on September 04, 2019, 07:29:04 pm
We have seen parents staying until their hatchlings fledge.  The parents then leave and the young hunt themselves and stay for another two or three weeks.


Do swallows eat wasps?  I would think having them for neighbours could be risky for the young.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on September 04, 2019, 09:05:16 pm
I looked in the diary, last year on the 3rd sept the swallows started to go, it looks like the same again, in my workshop there is a nest of chicks just about to fledge, gym mat on bench just in case !
It just remains to be seen how they disperse this time , I hate it when they go , it signals the start of hibernation for this bear....
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on September 05, 2019, 11:57:39 am
Oooh!  What a brilliant idea - hibernate for the winter  :thumbsup:


We had a northerly wind yesterday and only one swallow stayed in the barn overnight, although others may have stayed near other nests.  It's very quiet in the sky this morning so maybe some of ours are going early too.
There is one young osprey left on the nest at Loch Arkaig who is maybe waiting for a weather window to set sail - her sister left ages ago.  The skies over the Straits of Gibralter must be decidedly crowded at this time of year.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on September 05, 2019, 07:31:35 pm
Came home to night apart from 12ish youngsters all have gone  :(
although quite interesting to see the kids feeding each other , more of the mealworm pate taken .
I should think another week or two  .
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Scarlet.Dragon on September 09, 2019, 05:47:01 pm
My 2 fledged on Saturday evening, but were still in the barn with their parents this morning...
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Ghdp on September 12, 2019, 04:46:52 pm
Still got a nest of chicks here in North Wales. Not sure how old but assume very young as I can hear them but they are not even sticking a beak out out over the edge of the nest. Do you think that is going to be too late a batch to mature in time to leave before the autumn?
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on September 13, 2019, 01:41:08 pm
Still got a nest of chicks here in North Wales. Not sure how old but assume very young as I can hear them but they are not even sticking a beak out out over the edge of the nest. Do you think that is going to be too late a batch to mature in time to leave before the autumn?


Max 2 weeks to fledge, so they will have the whole of October to fatten up and get strong for migration.  Swallows clearly think it's worth a go to squeeze in an extra hatching late in the year.  We can't know that they will make it or not, so it's a chance.  Perhaps they will stop off in the south of France for this winter  :fc: 
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Ghdp on September 15, 2019, 08:03:41 pm
three little faces peering over the nest now so fingers crossed.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Penninehillbilly on September 15, 2019, 09:08:26 pm
We have 2 swallows still sleeping in barn, but we don't think their second brood made it, we haven't heard them twittering. I wonder if there was a cold spell and no insects?  :(
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on September 15, 2019, 11:59:31 pm
It's cold here tonight, but still plenty of insects in the day.  We still have swallows, big crowds this evening, so they are probably gathering to go.
 :fc:  for those of you with nestlings still.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: zwartbles on September 17, 2019, 07:10:38 pm
This is the first year since we have been in South Norfolk (9 years) that we haven't had a single house martin come back. Normally we have about 7 nests on the house all full of chattering birds. This year totally zero. Environmental disaster somewhere on their migration route maybe. Big shame.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on September 17, 2019, 08:32:30 pm
Oh that's a crying shame zwartbles.  Such cheery little birds.  We didn't have any this year either, in spite of putting up artificial nests, but then we rarely do get them up here.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Penninehillbilly on September 18, 2019, 04:49:22 pm
Our 2 last swallows must have gone, sigh.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on September 18, 2019, 07:42:18 pm
Still about a dozen youngsters here
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on September 18, 2019, 07:44:30 pm
This morning a huge flock of over 100 swallows were circling our place, all very excited, then off they headed.  Safe journey little birds  :wave:
There are still 9 left behind this evening.  The whole flock this morning cannot have all been from here as we only had about 40.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Possum on September 19, 2019, 06:52:25 pm
Most of ours in Somerset have gone, but I did see two on the overhead wires this morning. Don't suppose they will be here for long though (sigh.....).
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Ghdp on September 22, 2019, 12:02:35 pm
lots of fluttering and wing stretching toady on our nest here. I think they are about to fledge. At least three youngsters
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Ghdp on September 23, 2019, 05:53:01 pm
four swallows left the nest finally today.  :fc: for them
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on September 23, 2019, 07:15:30 pm
We still have a couple left here.  There were 3 about 30 mins ago, but there was a whoosh from the sparrow hawk, and then there were two!
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Possum on September 25, 2019, 10:01:54 pm
Saw one lone one on the wires this morning. I hope he hasn't been left behind.....................
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on September 28, 2019, 03:00:23 am
Yesterday evening I took a walk round the usual haunts.The numbers have increased !
From what I can work out we have 3 of last years adults ( as my old friend Derwent May would call them
Aunts, ) and 23 of this years brood. I’m sure some have come from elsewhere.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on October 07, 2019, 07:50:58 pm
Well we now have only 6 left living in the workshop, they all snuggleup together on the cable above my workbench .
I really hope they head down south soon , maybe waiting for the full moon next week.
They have spent the last couple of days in the workshop  flying ( playing ) keeping me amused during the terrible weather, but it is getting a bit late now, and this is the latest they have stayed.
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Fleecewife on October 07, 2019, 11:29:59 pm
They may be waiting for a northerly wind, but we are forecast SWs until at least Oct 20th, including very strong winds tomorrow.  The best we can hope for is that they set off when the winds are very light  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Ghdp on October 09, 2019, 07:04:07 pm
ours all seem to have gone now :(
Title: Re: Swallows
Post by: Rupert the bear on October 10, 2019, 09:29:36 pm
Working in workshop this morning the remaining swallows were very active and noisy, as soon as the rain passed,that was it ,off they went .
I spend some time cleaning up after them,it seemed to have “got a little dusty” here.

 :fc:  I’ll see them back in six months time,now about that hibernating......