15 February 2013

Swift Swallows

Quick movements of autumn migrants are hardly new news, but sometimes the sheer coincidence of captures is still quite amazing.

On 4th September, the hirundine roost catch at Pett Level (Sussex) totalled 53 Sand Martins and 348 Swallows, including five ringed birds. Two of these (ring numbers Y086711 and Y086745) were birds ringed just two days previously at Gibraltar Point Bird Observatory (Lincolnshire), 246km to the north.

On 5th September, the Pett Level roost catch totalled 75 Sand Martin and 82 Swallows, again including five ringed birds. Quite remarkably, three of these were again birds ringed at Gibraltar Point; two (ring numbers Y086673 and Y086703) on the same date (2nd September) as the birds caught the previous evening! The other (ring number Y085692) was ringed on the earlier date of 9th August.

View Swallows in a larger map

This raises more questions than it answers and it's perhaps nice to think of birds sticking together in small groups on migration, and perhaps there's something in this. Just 285 Swallows were ringed at Gib Point on 2nd September, so for four to be found in two days in the same roost in Sussex could be more than just coincidence...

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