10 April 2012

Return of the Hirundo

Seeing the first Swallow of the year is always a very welcome sight and they are now begining to increase in numbers in Britain and Ireland. To see the current situation see the birdtrack Swallow page.

After having a Swallow from Retford reported in South Africa in a previous post, I didn't think we'd get any more interesting recoveries of Swallows...I was wrong. This morning we received an email from our colleagues at Birdlife Malta regarding two Swallows their ringers had caught wearing BTO rings.

The Swallows were caught at Ghadira Nature Reserve, Mellieha (blue pin). One bird, X861373 (red pin), was caught last night 09 April 2012, and was ringed as a juvenile on 07 August 2009 near Boughton, Stoke Ferry, Norfolk (2144km). They also managed to catch L486230 this morning 10 April 2012, which was ringed as juvenile on 31 August 2010 at Westwick, near Bishop Monkton, North Yorkshire (2408km).

View Malta Swallow in a larger map

Malta has been quite a hostile environment for birds and we have received very few recoveries from here. This will be the 24th and 25th report of a British or Irish ringed bird of any species reported in Malta and the first ever Swallows! A Malta ringed Swallow was controlled in Starbotton, North Yorkshire on 20 August 1982 but nothing since.

These Swallows were caught in a roost of about 150 birds so fingers crossed a few of their ringed birds get controlled in Britain or Ireland this summer.

Thanks to Jill Pakenham for the photo.

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