An established sign of spring is the first swallow. For me, this year, they came on 18 April. The first House Martins followed 10 May, and the first Swifts 13 May.
While Swallows are the ‘traditional’ marker, it’s the visually-similar-but-not-related Swift that is my favourite. While the hirundines (swallows and martins) are pretty, the swift has scythe-like drama, especially across a late evening sky. Add that wonderful screaming call, and you have something truly spectacular.
They arrive last, leave first, but that few months they are here are a highlight of our Spring/Summer.
On the subject of migrants, it’s remarkable how quickly chiffchaffs fill our audioscape. March 14th I hadn’t heard one since late October. March 15th, they were everywhere, and will be everywhere for another 6 months.