Churchyard birds: Spring migration 2023

Many bird species are currently undertaking long distance journeys from their winter quarters to their summer breeding grounds here in the UK.

The swallows that are just starting to appear, swooping over the fields behind the churchyard here at Corby Glen, will have travelled thousands of miles from South Africa. A perilous and arduous journey across the Sahara Desert, through Morocco, up the eastern side of Spain, over the Pyrenees, through western France, across the North Sea and eventually nesting under someone’s roof eaves here in the village!

Spring migration in the UK typically occurs between March and June. The exact timings depend on several factors such as weather, species, and the behaviour of individual birds. Some notable migrants that we can expect to see in and around the churchyard include Swallow, Swift, House Martin, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. With a bit of luck, we may hear or see a cuckoo calling over the fields or see a Whitethroat or Wheatear.

So far in this second week of May a chiffchaff has been heard in the churchyard and two swallows spotted over the field behind. This brings the running total to 29 species.