Swallows,Swifts,Sand Martins, House Martins

Swallows, the harbingers of Spring with their lovely chatter and darting flight are one of our most recognisable  birds. Their summer migration takes about  four weeks and on the return about  six weeks, including crossing the Sahara Desert. The oldest known Swallow  was 15 years and  11 months.     That was a lot of flying!    Let us know if you think swallow numbers have declined in your area.                                          

Swallow

Swallow

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Swift is a fantastic flyer. High in our Summer skies with that harsh scream , their aerial gymnastics are  a sight to behold, in particular as they approach their nesting spot. It looks as if they are going to crash headlong into  the arch of a bridge or whatever crevice they are nesting in but they put the brakes on, feed the young and  scream off into the Summer skies. They are almost exclusively on the wing.                                                                                                                           

Swift

Swift

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Sand Martin is  not quite as flashy as the Swallow but  is a lovely little bird   .  Breeding in vertical sandy banks, often close to rivers. They have brown backs and can be distinguished from swallows by not having fork tails and they are generally smaller.  All these species can be seen ,at the same  time in summer, around rivers  catching flies and insects.                                                                                     
Sand Martin

Sand Martin

     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The House Martin the last on our list can be distinguished from the other three  by the tell-tale white rump which can be seen as the bird flies  away. They are well-known for nesting on our houses and are reputedly  said to bring good luck to the house in question. So leave them there!                                                                                                                    

House Martin

House Martin

                                                                                                                                   
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