The Barn Swallows which migrate to the KZN Coast every year, are very close to the hearts of Natalians and there was enormous concern about whether the flock would return to Durban this year after the opening of King Shaka International Airport in May 2010. To everyone’s great relief they are here and putting on their spectacular roosting show every evening, although the exact roosting spot seems to be changing. The flock is 3 million birds strong – yes, you read that correctly 3 MILLION – and they all swoop and dive as they come to roost at sunset every summer’s evening from October to April, creating one of nature’s most breathtaking sights.
This is the perfect time to go and see the flock as evenings are warm and pleasant. There is a public viewing area above the wetland which the swallows use as their summer home, slightly inland from Umdloti at Mt Moreland. However, the swallows seem to have moved recently to a spot closer to the sea at the Umdloti Estuary. It remains to be seen whether the swallows will adjust to the proximity of the new airport and continue to roost in the area in years to come. This might be your last chance to see this natural wonder so close to home, so make sure you spend a sunset with the birds before April.
There is a very comprehensive website at www.barnswallow.co.za and you can call 031 568 1557 for more information. Do have a look at the website before you decide to go and watch the swallows’ display of aerial acrobatics as they have moved around a bit this year. Directons to the roosting sites are available on the website.