For the last 4 years we have been privileged to have one of nature’s natural wonders in the bottom of our garden. 4 years ago in the first few days of December, the sky suddenly turned black with swallows. None of us had ever seen a congregation of swallows like this. It became a daily display that lasted 6 weeks or so before they disappeared. What made them choose the vlei at the bottom of our garden, only they know. They now return every year to give us a grand show every evening. The first birds arrived with us about 2 weeks ago and the last few nights they have started increasing a lot. This evening was the first real display of the season.
The European Barn Swallow migrates from Europe every year where they nest, and they arrive here with us in October. The large numbers congregate in our vlei from about now, until sometime after new year when they leave to presumably roost somewhere else. The phenomenon that I witness every evening from my bedroom or balcony is one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen. North of Durban at a place called Mount Moorland, there is a tourist centre built around the viewing of a colony of Barn Swallows. Mount Moorland has nowhere near as good as view of them as we do. Here they fly literally meters from your face. Binoculars are essential at Mount Moorland, here they are often too close to look at through binoculars. It really is wonder of the natural world, right in my garden!
Here follow a few pictures I took this evening. The numbers aren’t yet close to their peak, but the sunset was well worth the pics. At peak there are probably over a million birds. Now there may be 10s of thousands or 100 thousand? It’s anyone’s guess.
Here is a link to last year’s blog post that I wrote on them. There are better pics and a video.