Looking through last year's swallow project notebook this evening has me looking forward to this coming season with more enthusiasm than normal and pondering what it will hold. Will it be a success? Will it be an out and out failure? A review of 2012 showed that you never know until its over. Despite the appalling summer, and a few false starts, 2012 proved to be the most productive season since the project started in 2006.
Despite being one of the wettest summers on record, 139 young swallows (from 159 eggs) fledged from the stables last year, beating the previous best by seven (from 177 eggs in 2009). Its a far, far better total than 2006 when only 69 young (from 130 eggs) fledged in what was a very hot and dry year.
|Over 550 swallows have fledged from the Cardiff Riding School since 2006; |
which isn't bad going for a site approximately 1km from Cardiff's Civic Centre.
The Riding School, along with the Blackweir Ambulance Station make up the core area of our RAS project. We only started monitoring the BAS in 2011 so its hard to draw any firm conclusions but the colony here was up from 3 to 5 pairs in 2012. Nest recording here is a little random but we know at least 16 young made it off the nest; not bad for a site that backs on to one of Cardiff's main roads!
|Five pairs made their home at the Blackwier Ambulance Station in 2012. |
The swallows breed in the building in the top right corner.
All ten adults were caught in one catch, including a male hatched at the stables.
These two sites are within two of the three large parks in the centre of Cardiff (you can see the Millennium Stadium from the stables!) and between them saw at least 150 young fledge in 2012.