I have seen my first swallow of the year. Nothing particularly early about 9 April as the date, but I always like to note it. I think to myself that spring is now in 'full swing', although of course the proverbial single swallow should not be heralded as the onset of summer.

Noting 'first arrivals' is something many birdwatchers do. My first record is usually the Chiffchaff ... and it did come early. This year's date of 16 March was my earliest in Northumberland, although they arrived locally 6 days earlier on the coast at Howick. The annual variations in arrival dates always intrigue me and I speculate as to why. Have birds had a 'clear run' as they flew north from Iberia and Africa? Were they grounded on route by 'blocking weather' like northerly winds? While southern England basked in sunshine throughout March and early April, NE England was blanketed in late March by mist and fog driven inshore by cold easterlies. That was 'blocking' weather which thankfully has now been 'unblocked' as my swallow's arrival actually heralded.

If you would like to book a Birdwatch Northumbria event please contact us.

email :
or telephone : 07594 592684