I have been doing some work for the ground breaking BBC Radio 4 series called world on the move. This series looks in detail at migration of wild animals around the planet.
Just thought I would share with you this story of a pair of Swallows I have been following on Mendip, Somerset, England. The Swallows arrived in mid April from Africa, they began making their first nest of 08 within three days of arriving. This summer has been a washout with high winds at times and of course what seems endless rain, the affect this has upon the main prey of the swallow "the flying insects" must have been devastating.
The early brood of Swallows consisted of 5 eggs all hatched, however there must have been trouble rearing them to fledgling as quite often I would watch both parent birds sheltering from heavy rain as apposed to hunting.
Only 2 from this brood seem to have made it, indeed I did find 2 dead young swallows just outside the building where they nested this incident again coinciding with what can only be described as a cloud burst of rain over Mendip.
The parents birds made a new nest and laid a fresh clutch of 4 eggs, however the weather deteriorates further and maybe because of this we find all the eggs smashed on the ground. Note: we don't know for certain this was a response from the adults to the lack of food, however we assume this because of a worsening of the weather over this same period.
By the beginning of August nest number 3 is now built very close to nest number 2. Yet another 6 eggs have been laid and so fingers are crossed to see whether this brood will be successful.
In 07 the Swallows were gone by 27th September, it will be interesting to see if they leave earlier or maybe summer will come late as in September?
The Swifts that normally live around my house in Portishead were gone by the last week of July this was only one week earlier than 07.
Owls have also had mixed fortunes but its not all doom and gloom more on the Owls in the next blog.