Weather, Predation and Swallow Season 2014

This week I completed a task I’ve been putting off for a while – totalling up the results for the 2014 swallow season at Cardiff Riding School. This season will go down in personal history for two reasons. Firstly, although it was my 9th season studying this population it was my first as an MPhil…

Swallow Pi

I’ve wanted to use Raspberry Pi in my MPhil research for a while. So, being a new comer to it all, I’ve decided to keep it simple and try to use the R-Pi NOIR camera module to examine nest attendance; both during the incubation and chick rearing stages. Before deploying it properly a test run at a swallow nest in which the young haven’t long…

Cardiff’s swallow season so far

As we enter the second week of June, its as good a time as any to see how swallow season 2014 is progressing at Cardiff Riding School. The answer is quite simply, not that great. Although12 first broods have been initiated, which is fairly average for this time of year, a much higher proportion are…

Nesting Underway!

Just over a month ago the swallows returned to my study site, Cardiff Riding School. Despite some wet and windy weather during that time, the birds haven’t wasted much time in getting on with the task of making the next generation. At least four females are sitting tight on clutches of eggs. Unfortunately, I missed the…

Swallow ID Parade

Not too long ago I blogged about the arrival of swallows at Cardiff Riding School. I’ve studied this population since 2006 and in 2007 began to ring them; as well as being fitted with a BTO metal ring they also get a unique combination of colour rings so that they can be recognised in the field without the need to re-catch them.…

The Swallows’ Return

Since April 1st, as I have done for the past eight years, I’ve been making daily visits to the Cardiff Riding School on the lookout for returning swallows. In 2006 I started studying this population of migrants; nest recording and ringing, and of course occasionally collecting poo. I saw my first at the site for…