Friday, 27 July 2007

Swallows nest building - a use for the car park!

Swallows generally arrive back at St Margaret's from April onwards and they are besting from the beginning of May onwards. Although the population of Swallows has always fluctuated, being dependant of climatic conditions during migration, the general trend is believed to have been widespread declines in Europe since 1970. The swallow is included on the Amber List of Birds of Conservation Concern because of its adverse conservation status Europe-wide. The reasons are complex and can be seen on the RSPB site

One of the problems have during hot dry summers is finding wet mud for nest construction and repair, particularly for second broods. It is there pleasing to report that one of the uses the puddles have in the Bay car park is to provide building materials for either new or refurbished nests for a second brood.
As well as mud they use pieces of dry grass and straw to bind the mud together. If you have an out building suitable the RSPB Website has an interesting page on how to encourage breeding.
When they arrive the males have extremely long tail streamers. The better the streamers the more likely the male is to attract a female to nest. Obviously there must be a balance between the streamers and the ability to fly and manoeuvre.

Having collected a beakfull it then time to fly off to the nest site, both birds were taking part in this activity.

They disappeared over the top of the cliff, but were back quite quickly, so they were nesting in a building not far away.


lynn said...

Lovely sharp photos you have here. Just look at that blue sky too! Quite envious...

Tony Morris said...

Thanks Lynn, the blue sky was temporary, although we've been luckier than you. Perched above the "White Cliffs of Dover" if we flood London will have disappeared!