Swallows and Enigmas

Where Migration is Defined

I am always drawn back to my first birding love. The Swallow. I have written about this before, but the (Barn) Swallow is, above all others, THE species which hooked me as a 10/11 year old into the magic world of birds.

So as we approach the 3rd Migration Festival at Spurn, the Swallow will once again take centre stage. The Festival is on 3rd-5th September and early September is THE peak time for swallow migration there. I hope we get a big one! I have been there for a 20,000 bird morning and the spectacle is simply breath-taking. I would personally love you to be there to encounter such wonders. Info on booking HERE.

Swallows will also get a mention in the talks. I am especially looking forward to Yoav Perlman’s talk on the Saturday evening at the Migration festival on ‘Where Migration is Defined‘. Featuring the Arava Valley, Israel and the Middle East which is a place of spectacular migration.

There are enigmas too.

I think of the four commoner hirundines, each one has its own intriguing, sometimes shadowy plumage type/ subspecies which passes through the Middle East and especially Israel. They are mysteries! I bet we can draw Yoav out to talk more about them. 🙂

Ice-white Swallows with no breast bands.

I saw a few of these in the Nizzana region. There lots of comparison. Tons of nominate Swallows, tons of orange-bodied semi-resident ‘transitiva’ Barn Swallows. Then there are these things with icy-white plumage below and strangely weak breast band- like one of the SE Asian taxa of Swallow. ?$%£?

Yoav has seen similar birds in east Africa. What are they?

Barn Swallow Nitzana, Israel 11th Nov 2013Barn Swallow 2 Nitzana, Israel 11th Nov 2013Above. First winter Ice-white Swallows with reduced blue breast bands. November 2013. Nizzana, Israel. Martin Garner.

To follow:

Sand Martins. Normal ones and the ‘Little’ Sand Martin that can almost look like a brown-throated Martin.

House Martins. Normal ones and the dusky Asian House Martin scares.

Red-rumped Swallows. Do super streaky ones pass through as well as the regular type?


Book for migfest while your planning your start to autumn 🙂

Be great to see you there. More info/ booking etc. HERE.




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