St Patrick’s Day and a reminder needed that spring is on its way. The average date for the first swallow being spotted off the southern coast is 29th March. In the North-East, it will probably be a couple of weeks later. So in 3 weeks time, we could be seeing our first swallows arriving after their long flight from Africa. The migrating swallows are covering around 200 miles a day at an average speed of around 20 miles per hour. I guess around now our swallows are crossing the Mediterranean and will feed a while in Spain and southern France before continuing.
Venturing out today in the blizzard I recalled the words of Lawrence Oates: “I am just going outside and may be some time.” A member of Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole, he was suffering serious frostbite and well aware he was hampering the progress of his companions when he left his tent. His body was never found. He died on the 17th March 1912 which coincidently was his 32nd birthday.