Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sand Martin

Since Sunday morning central and northern Thailand has been hit by an unusually cold front, with unseasonal rain and (by our standards) very low temperatures - when I woke up early on Monday morning it was just 15 Celsius, which is about half what it was 24 hours earlier , and just three Celsius warmer than London!

Normally I'd expect this kind of weather to produce some notable irruptive species and so I took a quick look at the patch this morning where the highlight seemed to be hirundines feeding at very low altitudes. These included  the first Sand Martin I have seen there and a Red-rumped Swallow (a scarce passage migrant in the city under normal circumstances).

Sand Martin -  a new patch bird!

Unfortunately a lot of the hirundines seen appeared to be rather lethargic in the flight patterns, flying just above the ground and coming very close to me. Indeed I have seem several reports today on social media indicting that quite a few hirundines have succumbed to the weather.  I would guess that at this time of the year, when they are still a long way from starting their northbound migration, they have low fat scores, so a sudden drop in temperature and reduced foraging opportunities must be making it hard to maintain energy supplies.

As I write this I can hear a cold wind blowing around our house, so it seems that we will have a few more days of cool conditions.

No comments: