Published on 20/09/2017
IT SEEMS SUMMER really is at an end. The first swallows are always a wonderful sight but the time has now come for them to leave. For the past few weeks they have been gathering on the telephone wires, twittering and chattering. Gradually their numbers have diminished until just a few stragglers have remained.
Yesterday, we could see them swooping, circling and skimming above the fields, gathering insects in the grey morning; this morning, they are gone.
Swallows are famous migrants, travelling thousands of miles each year to southern Africa and back.
Arctic terns are even more remarkable migrants, flying from the Arctic region to Antarctica and back each year. Studies using geolocators on the birds revealed that they flew an average of 56,000 miles on the round trip — the longest known migration of any bird or animal.
Arctic terns can live for 30 years, so they can travel more than 1.5 million miles in a lifetime — an astounding feat for birds weighing just over 100 grams.
Just as the summer visitors have now gone, winter visitors will soon arrive.
We’ll be hearing the familiar calls of geese overhead as pink-footed and greylag geese fly in, many coming from Iceland. Whooper swans too will be among their number.
And so the year’s cycle continues.