The Boys are Back in Town

April weather continues to be changeable. Yesterday the day began with a frost, but later temperatures reached the giddy heights of ~18°C. Today there’s been thunder, heavy rain and sunshine.

Regardless of all this uncertainty, I saw my first swallows of the year today. That is about a week earlier than last year. So no big shift there.


Swallows against a clear blue sky

They are back from South Africa, making a  ~9500km journey (roughly 300km a day) to get here.

There were four of them, skimming the posts and trees around the yard behind the walled garden at Wimpole, then settling on the overhead wires. I heard them before I saw them, as usual. That sliding trill and twittering is very distinctive.


Later, when I emerged from the pot store, one flew over my head from a half-formed nest (presumably from last year) in the rafters of the open-fronted bothy. Swallows are known to prefer outbuildings which provide safe ledges and nooks and crannies for nesting. There are certainly plenty of those in the bothy!


Hopefully this means that warm weather is on its way, but I wouldn’t bet on it!



About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
This entry was posted in birds, Nature, Spring, Wildlife, Wimpole Hall and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to The Boys are Back in Town

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    (I had to look up what a ‘bothy’ was!) Glad to see your swallows are back, their journey is epic!

    • ‘Bothy’ is a bit of an archaic term, but since we gardeners practically live in them on the estate the word is very familiar. I’ve linked it to a reference now, so as not to confuse others. So thanks. Seeing the swallow back cheers me up tremendously!

      • Eliza Waters says:

        One of the cool things about blogging is what we learn from each other. Still awaiting our swallows (they are late, so I’m getting anxious as they are known for their punctuality). But we did see a pair of Bald Eagles this morning about 5 miles from here that made my day. 🙂

  2. Seeing the first swallows of summer always make my heart skip a beat in joy, so I enjoyed seeing them feature in your post today. ‘Bothy’ is a wonderful word, isn’t it?

    • Yes, seeing them makes me very happy too! It took me ages to say the word ‘bothy’ without feeling self conscious, but now it is just part of life at Wimpole. It does feel rustic even so.

  3. Sam says:

    Saw my first swallow last Saturday, then a couple more yesterday whizzing off the sea and over the cliffs. According to the group of birdwatchers watching out for migrants here, there are fewer arriving this year than in previous years. Maybe they’re just taking a different route. Or maybe they’re feeding up in France before arriving en masse!

    • Yes of course, you are first point of contact! Now I am imagining them streaming over, like planes. It’s a shame to hear that there are fewer arriving this year. I was just reading about the fluctuations in the numbers and migration patterns last night on the RSPB website. Hopefully you are right about the alternative route.

      • Sam says:

        Autumn is also amazing when we get huge gatherings of swallows and martins before they head back across the channel. It is an awesome sight.

  4. Sam says:

    PS meant to say, great title 🙂

  5. Julie says:

    I haven’t seen any yet here, what a really lovely first sighting. My sister used to have them nest in her old barn, it was such an exciting time. As always your place of work comes up trumps!

  6. Chloris says:

    How wonderful to see swallows. It looks like being cold this weekend, a bit of a shock after the lovely weather yesterday. I hope they will be all right.

  7. Cathy says:

    Wonderful to see them again! I shall be keeping my eyes peeled for swallows as soon as I get back to Bavaria next week. I know the bats are already awake, so there must be enough insects around for the swallows too by now and I also usually spot them at the end of April.

  8. Christina says:

    I love it when the swifts and swallows arrive. That was quite a few weeks ago now. The Italian saying is the same as the English but replace summer with spring.

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