Early bird sightings in the county

THE EARLY appearance of a swallow on the Manhood Peninsula led one reader to contact the Observer’s Richard Williamson to report the sighting.

Jonathan Smith spotted the bird this year on the Manhood Peninsula at Ham, near Earnley.

Richard said the ten-year average arrival date for swallows in Sussex was March 10.

“A couple of years ago one was seen at Nutbourne on February 19, which broke that record,” he said.

He added there were around 375,000 swallows in Britain and the average date for their arrival across the country was March 29.

“Dates are getting earlier as the decades go by,” he said.

“These birds are declining in the world. There are 375,000 in the UK each year but they are on an amber list of conservation concern.”

Another early swallow has been attracting attention in Sussex this year.

First spotted on January 2, at the Newick Sewage Works, near Crawley, the swallow has now been seen by several people and posted on the Sussex Ornithological Society’s website