Brilliant sunshine this afternoon accompanied a patch walk through the village and as I walked down Henstead Road there was the unmistakable chitter of housemartins and a small flock flew over head towards the south. An evening walk near Little Melton church lead to another of the sounds of summer with three swallows hawking flies over the church. The swallows disappeared quickly and were also drowned out by noisy grey herons just visible in the woods to the north on their nest. Both house martin and swallow appear to be declining locally which follows the national trend. The house martin in particular is amber listed and is the focus of volunteer surveys by the BTO see the following link for further details:
The decline is not new and is documented locally since the seventies on Page 53 of Wild About Hethersett. If anyone is aware of birds nesting locally the editor would welcome details please on the usual email. A couple of years ago there was a flock of a couple of hundred birds (both housemartins and swallows) that rode a thermal over the village in late summer but this is now exceptional rather than the norm.. Needless to say high-flying fast birds did not lend themselves to photography so here instead is the BTO identification video to help those unfamiliar with the different birds of the summer skies.