Return of the Barn Swallows 2009

Return of the Swallows 2009 

  Last year we had over 13 000 visitors from all over the world and we hope to have more this season. On our special Return of the Swallows day, Sunday 15 November this year we had well over 1000 swallow watchers at Mount Moreland particularly as this will be the last year without aeroplanes. A fun day enjoyed by all that attended and the Barn Swallows put on an extra ordinary evening display, spectators were awestruck.

The 1 May 2010, when The King Shaka International Airport opens, creeps ever closer. The runway is only 2.6 kilometres north of the Mount Moreland roost and the flight path skims across the lower end of the Roost. Although there are concerns for the many bird species that use the coastal corridor on which the airport is situated, the main threat identified as far as the Barn Swallows are concerned will come from low incoming planes in the evenings at the same time as the swallows return to roost.

Return of the Barn Swallows 2009 Return of the Barn Swallows 2009 Return of the Barn Swallows 2009
Return of the Barn Swallows 2009 Return of the Barn Swallows 2009 Return of the Barn Swallows 2009
Return of the Barn Swallows 2009 Return of the Barn Swallows 2009 Return of the Barn Swallows 2009 Return of the Barn Swallows 2009 Return of the Barn Swallows 2009 Return of the Barn Swallows 2009
Return of the Barn Swallows 2009 Return of the Barn Swallows 2009 Return of the Barn Swallows 2009

Resulting from the E.I.A process and representations made by the Mount Moreland Conservancy and BirdlifeSA various management schemes have been put in place to benefit and protect the swallows. This includes a specially designed radar imported from the USA to detect swallow flocks. It will give early warning should any flocks of swallows move into the flight path. If necessary the pilot will be able to follow an avoidance procedure. As mentioned the danger of this happening is really only in the sunset and sunrise when swallows swarm and display around Mount Moreland. With the Barn Swallows moving in dense flocks this is when the most damage could be done. There are, thank goodness, mitigating circumstances. The main one is that the airport and runway are 300 feet higher than the reedbeds, Lake Victoria and Froggy Swamp which is on the north side of Mt Moreland, even closer to the airport. While the birds fly over both wetlands before going down to roost they do not often fly very high.