January 2022 – Swallows
Swallows are dark blue with a cream underside. Their characteristic tail has two distinctive streamers when in flight, and they have long blue-black wings which appear curved and slender when perched. They have a dark throat and forehead (more of a rusty-buff colour in juveniles) and a blue-black nape and crown.
Not to be confused with: swifts, house martins and sand martins.
Swallows feed on flies and aphids, which they catch as they fly. They drink by skimming low over lakes or rivers and scooping up water with their open beaks.
The swallow is a summer visitor to the UK and Isle of Man and one of the latest to leave after breeding. They arrive in April, and most depart by late September, crossing the Sahara desert to reach their wintering grounds in southern Africa.
Look out for swallows throughout the summer as they fly overhead, or bring food to nests beneath eaves. Their chattering call helps distinguish them from screaming swifts when in flight. As autumn approaches, groups of swallows will also congregate at roosting sites such as reed beds.
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December 2021 – Snow Bunting
A sign of winter arriving on the Island with a small number of these beautiful Snow Buntings seen here at the Point of Ayre early December.
Globally, they breed around the Arctic from Scandinavia to Alaska, Canada and Greenland and migrate south in winter. They are a scarce breeding species in the UK and in Scotland, making them an Amber List species. They are more widespread in winter in the north and east when residents are joined by other continental birds. See more of my Isle of Man Wildlife images by clicking HERE
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