May 17th- willow warbler, house martins and swift diary

An early walk this morning in blustery conditions. Dawn was cloudy with very light rain. The wind picked up, probably keeping birdsong to a minimum. However when I reached the Scar a willow warbler was really belting its song out while being buffeted by the wind. It was rather fluffed up in the cool breeze but undeterred it kept singing for the half an hour or so I sketched and it was still singing from the same spot when I returned about an hour later.

There was a major influx of house martins today. Numbers probably trebled overnight and they fed above the village for much of the day, often close to tree tops where they could easily prey on insects kept low in the strong breeze. It is lovely to hear their clicking calls again. I have seven artificial house martin nests up under our eaves and I live in hope that at least one is occupied this summer.

Swift Diary
Our pair left again at around 8.30am and save two fast low level passes they were absent for the whole day. Occasionally a third bird was seen. Concern is being expressed at the low or moderate numbers of swifts at colonies across the UK. But we really have to wait a few more days yet to justify this concern. Warmer weather and a change in wind direction forecast in the next few days is still likely in my opinion to see another substantial arrival of swifts.

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