Sunday, 1 July 2012

It's still blowing a gale....

Another weekend and again the strong winds made it impossible to try any mist netting so it was back to the local stables to check up on the nesting Barn Swallows. It had been three weeks since my last visit, when the nesting birds were all on eggs, so I was expecting to find chicks, and I was not to be disappointed.

Walking into the first stable I was greeted with three expectant faces looking over the rim of the the mud nest cup. The birds were well developed and not too far off fledging, which was good to see given the appalling weather we have had recently in the UK.

Barn Swallow Fledglings

There are 25 stables at this site, and all the horses were out in the paddocks, so I was able to check them all. In total 10 nests had chicks in, although one brood was too small to ring, so I will have to pop back next week. The average brood size was three, although there was one brood of five and one of four.

Barn Swallow

There was a fair variation in size between the chicks with their wing lengths ranging from 67mm to 95mm, and their weights ranging from 15.5 to 28.7 grams. In total 30 birds, from nine nests were were ringed, which was a good total for my first visit. Hopefully there will be a couple more broods for them all this year.

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