What best to celebrate the turn of the Equionox than the recovery of a UK ringed swallow in South Africa! Andrew Pickels controlled this bird on the 30th of November in Umzumbe (in the area of Southern Kwazulu Natal), his ringing patch where he rings at a roost 2-3 times a week. This year the Umzumbe roost hosted an impressive 1-1.5 million swallows. Fittingly, the controlled swallow had been ringed by North Notts Ringing Group on the 16th of September in Retford - very close to where Andrew himself was born.
We believe that now all the UK's migrant birds have reached their furthest wintering destinations in the African continent. Of course, we are so pleased to hear that all five cuckoos tracked by BTO are alive in or close to the Congo Basin, and we also have news of other controlled birds in The Gambia (a blog post to come about this shortly - watch this space!)
To find out more about Umzumbe and about Andrew's ringing activities visit his own blog http://barbetbirding.blogspot.