Sunday, 24 June 2018

Silent skies: June 2018

For as long I can remember, sitting out in the garden on fine summer evenings has been to the accompaniment of House Martins overhead which used to breed up the road. In recent years numbers may have dwindled somewhat but this is year the recent fine weather only makes their absence more obvious and saddening. It is possible there is one pair left, but if there is, they are rarely seen or heard in our airspace.

House Martin - taken a long time ago!

That other charismatic aerial feeder, the Swift, is also notable by its absence this year. Going back just a few years, we frequently saw screaming parties of these. No longer sadly. There were a few in Wantage town centre this morning but we've seen only one this year over the garden, and that wasn't  screaming.

Swift at Farmoor - also taken some time ago

Are others noticing this silence as well in the county, I wonder?

Is this a one off or a sign of things to come as the world gets more and more hostile to our migrant birds?


  1. Hi,
    I have been trying to keep a record of occupied nests for the last few years up here at Garsington. 24 ((2015) 16 (2016 & 17). Although I haven't completed my figures yet I do know that one sight that had 5 nests last yer have none this year.

    I am lucky enough to have had a Swift nesting under my roof for many years and they have returned along with a large colony on local houses. I counted somewhere between 15 and 20 squealing overhead last night. I consider myself very fortunate.

  2. The House Martins at school (Childrey) arrived later than previous years but are now very busy. We feel very fortunate to have so many nests on the building and put out a mud puddle for the birds to repair their nests this year. Last year there were many successful nests and so we were very concerned when the birds were not back by mid May.
    I haven't seen any over the Grove Rugby field this year though. Last year they had a favourite muddy puddle, and congregated in large numbers but I don't know where they were nesting.

  3. Finally I too have seen up to 4 over the house but I'm not sure where they are nesting yet