A complete change of season in 24hrs. Yesterdays hot and settled weather pushed aside by a wet cold front and with it, a moderate northerly wind. A thoroughly wet and miserable day especially if you’re a long distance, insect seeking migrant looking to feed up before leaving. It rained throughout a late afternoon visit and I spent most of my time looking through the 400+ House Martin that had gathered to feed in the lee of the wind below the cliff tops. All I could see amongst them was a single Swift.
Adult House Martin.
Unfortunately the light was poor for photography. It was interesting to see the contrast across the worn wings of the adults, BWP suggests wing moult takes place mostly in the tropics, after the majority of the autumn migration has been completed. However (to my untrained eye!) the above bird does seem to show some signs of body moult. Some of the juveniles were very dusky about the face and rump.
Juvenile House Martin.
A small part of the group along with the Swift.
Todays weather a far cry from the Afrotropics where these birds are headed.
Surely one of the only true migration spectacles the UK has, congregations of Martins and Swallows. I often wonder what these birds will see on their journey as they pass over so many different landscapes, cities, arid regions and tropical forests.