Somerset Wildlife Trust

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A good year for swallows and martins?

 4th Oct 2010

Roy Osborne, from Over Stowey, shares his swallow success story

A good move

My wife and I moved from South Bucks to Over Stowey in late April this year. We have always had swallows in our stables at our last home in the Chilterns, so I was delighted to find them nesting in the stables at our new place too, and even more so to have three pairs of house martins nesting in the eaves of the house, which is a farmhouse dating from the 18th century.


So far this year three families of swallows in the stables and all three families of house martins have fledged. With four swallows in two of the nests and three in another we have so far fledged 11 swallows (a 12th died early on and was removed from the nest). All three pairs of swallows went for a second brood and as of, 13 August, it looks as if we now have 4 fledglings in one nest, five in another and five as yet un-hatched eggs in the third, giving us the potential to produce another 14 swallows before autumn migration. The house martins also fledged 4, 4 and 3, and at least one and possibly two of the house martin pairs have raised a second brood, although neither have yet left their nests. 

A real success

If, as looks likely, we manage to fledge a total of 25 swallows and about 18 house martins I shall regard this as a particularly successful season. I have no doubt that the very dry spring and summer have helped; there has been no shortage of flies and insects. Or it may be that the buildings, lanes and general geography and topography of rural Somerset are much more conducive to swallows and martins than some other parts of the UK. Either way, for us this has been a particularly productive year, and having so many swallows and martins has added to our enjoyment of our new home, even if we face a lot of cleaning up once the breeding season is over!

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