As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Where have all our Swallows gone? Numbers in Wales plunge

Bird Notes columnist Julian Hughes of RSPB Cymru reveals what birds have been spotted in the past week and lists a massive 20 upcoming wildlife events
Andrew Forgrave Rural Affairs Editor
10:07, 28 MAY 2019
I spent Bank Holiday weekend at the Hay Festival, talking to people about nature. Driving home along the borderlands and the North Wales coast, how many Swallows did I see? Four.
Four Swallows in 133 miles at the end of May.
My own experience reflected one of the most common questions from festivalgoers: “Where have all the Swallows/Swifts/House Martins gone?”
But how representative was my journey or the observations of others? BirdTrack, the online database holding lists collected by thousands of birdwatchers, provides some clues.
Compared to the historic average, there were 21% fewer records of Swallows and Swifts in Wales in May, and a whopping 30% fewer House Martins.
House Martins and Swallows are down across Britain and Ireland, though the drop in Wales is far greater.
Swift sightings in Wales are one-third down on last year, but on a par with summer 2017.
It’s difficult to know why, but both weather and food supply play a part. All these birds depend on flying insects, and most surveys of invertebrates point to huge declines across Europe.

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