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Morning Dog Walk: The Barn Swallows Have Returned

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

Whilst walking near the river this morning I heard a noise that I’ve not heard since the end of September and instantly recognised it as Barn Swallows. I looked to the sky to see 3 of them flying around catching flies for breakfast.

Whilst you may think this is early, it is right on time for the Barn Swallows to return at the beginning of February.

If you want to learn more about the Swallows, Martins and Swifts we can find in the Algarve, take a look at my Algarve Resident article I wrote in July 2018 titled Swallows, Martins and Swifts.

{Click image for a higher resolution}


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Red-rumped Swallows Are Here

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Actually, they have been here for many months, however, I hadn’t noticed them. They do return much later in the spring than the Barn Swallows and House Martins. We used to have these nesting in their “tunnel” nests here under one of the terrace roofs at the Quinta, however, at the end of last years breeding season the nest fell off.

They don’t normally like nesting around humans so it was no surprise that this year they decided not to rebuild. They normally build nests under cover in uninhabited structures such as bridges. They had built a nest at the Quinta the year before we moved in as it was not permanently occupied then.

This morning I took a photo of what I thought was Barn Swallows, but when I looked on returning home, I discovered these are indeed Red-rumped Swallows. They are larger than Barn Swallows and almost totally white underneath whereas a Barn Swallow has a rusty coloured chin. As the name suggests, the Red-rumped Swallow has a rusty coloured rump which is difficult to see in flight.

Here is a photo of one chasing a fly, which it did catch.

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Red-rumped Swallow chasing its breakfast!

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Red Rumped Swallows at the Quinta

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The Red Rump Swallows nest here at our “Quinta” and will be getting ready to leave soon. They arrive later than the other Swallows and Swifts and also leave slightly later too.

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
Red Rumped Swallow - D810, AF-S 300mm f/2.8 @ 300mm, f/8, ISO320, 1/2000sec - {Flickr Link}

They are a little larger than the Barn Swallow and as the name suggests have a rusty coloured rump (which gets darker with age). Their nests are different too with a tunnel entrance. This year, they occupied the same nest as last year, but decided to add an extension to the tunnel. You can see the darker colour of the entrance in the photo below;

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The Migrants are returning

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This weekend has seen the start of the return of the House Martins. There are only a handful at the moment, but expect them to return in large numbers as they do every Spring.

We have artificial nests on the house for them and they also build their own.

I’ve not seen any Swallows yet, but I’m sure they won’t be far behind.

Here’s a quick shot I got this morning, I look forward to getting some better shots soon.

House Martin
House Martin

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