First Spring Migrants Arrive Back in Swiss Foothills



Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) sitting on a barn in Switzerland

Walking around my village in the Swiss foothills yesterday, I was totally surprised to hear the sound of my old friend, the Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) – check out the link to the birdsong below.

This insect eater doesn’t normally arrive back from Africa until the beginning of April. This could be a a sign that spring has finally arrived. It’s only a few weeks ago that we had a metre of snow on the ground and temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius.

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)

With temperatures now in the mid teens and the sun warming the ground, there are signs of new growth everywhere – spring flowers, butterflies and two pairs of the Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) playfully racing around the old barn.

On the other hand it’s not unknown for the temperatures to turn and to get fresh snow even in April. Let’s hope that the warm weather stays, so that there will be enough insects for the Black Redstart – the House Martins and Barn Swallows shouldn’t be far behind!

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) sitting on a barn in Switzerland

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) sitting on a barn in Switzerland

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) sitting on a barn in Switzerland

Ken Billington

Ken Billington

Ken, a scientist by training held various management positions in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries during his professional career, enabling him to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Americas, North Africa, Asia and Japan. Ken has always been a keen photographer and bought his first telephoto lens 10 years ago. This was the beginning of his interest in bird photography. Since then he has also become an active supporter of birding and wildlife conservation.

Ken Billington

Ken Billington

Ken, a scientist by training held various management positions in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries during his professional career, enabling him to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Americas, North Africa, Asia and Japan. Ken has always been a keen photographer and bought his first telephoto lens 10 years ago. This was the beginning of his interest in bird photography. Since then he has also become an active supporter of birding and wildlife conservation.

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