Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Gettin' Ready

As late June arrived, I began seeing lots and lots of juvenile Barn Swallows swifting over the open rice fields. They used to arrive later than this, or at least I feel that way. Over the last 10 years, the resident population in Thailand has seemed to increase. Though their breeding range is still quite restricted to the country's north-westernmost mountains, the number seems to have more than doubled. And when the real wintertime comes, more fellows from northern countries will soon join these local population. It's about time to be gettin' ready for the migration once again.

Adult female Wire-tailed Swallow; note rufous wash on breast

Juvenile Barn Swallow

Adult Barn Swallow

Juvenile Wire-tailed Swallow

At Ban Huai Hang, a small countryside town near my local patch, I enjoyed taking photos of a mixed flock of Barn and Wire-tailed Swallows that were roosting on giant mimosa trees along the small canal. Most of them were Barns but there were also about 5, plus or minus, Wire-taileds. Most of the birds were juvenile, which was not surprising. I could easily take photos of them from a hide which I placed right on the opposite side of the canal.

Adult Wire-tailed and juvenile Barn Swallows

Juvenile Wire-tailed Swallows

This one has most of the adult upperwing covert feathers

Adult Barn Swallow

Itchy eye

Very dull juvenile Barn Swallow

It was interesting to see various stages of moult of the juveniles, especially for the Wire-tailed Swallows. Some birds had shiny bluish-glossed upperwing coverts, while some didn't. Some already had pale rufous crown, while some still had dull greyish-brown head. As for the Barn Swallows, there was a good variety as well. Some birds were really dull, with greyish-brown throat and forehead and almost no glossy feathers on the upperwing coverts, while some looked much brighter with reddish throat and bluish upperwing coverts.

Dull juvenile Wire-tailed Swallow

Shame the face was covered

Showing wing moult

The one on the left is beginning the moult on the forehead.

Three little cute juvenile swallows

A more colourful juvenile Barn Swallow


  1. Wow! Great in-depth report as usual. You didn't just manage to get one great portrait but a whole collection demonstrating their differences. Unbelievable work! They're cuties too!

  2. Interesting to see the juvenile Wire-tailed Swallows..... we don't get them here in Hong Kong.

  3. Good to get a mix of Swallow species and a chance to photograph both to keep you on your toes. Your usual super photographs on show.

  4. Wow so many species of swallow at your place. We do have sometime barn swallow over here and I saw two of them this year, but they are rare!!! Beautiful pictures Ayuwat and the video is superb!

  5. Beautiful images, Ayuwat. And yes, the migratory season is almost here again!

  6. Some pretty interesting swallow species there.............