Wroxham Barns and the RSPB have joined forces to ‘Follow the Swallow’ at Junior Farm. A ‘Swallowcam’ has been installed in the farm’s goat barn to watch nesting swallows. Live footage is being screened to visitors in the small animals barn.
Swallows began flying around Junior Farm in early May and have started building nests. It is expected that female swallows will be sitting on their eggs very soon. The birds will stay at Junior Farm until the autumn, so there will be plenty of opportunities to watch the new brood grow.
The RSPB has developed special swallow activities, which will be run by the team at Junior Farm every day over Jubilee weekend and half term, then at weekends until the summer school holidays, when they will again take place daily. There will also be monthly children’s swallow photography and drawing competitions and the RSPB will be regular visitors during the summer.
Swallows are very agile small birds with dark, glossy-blue backs, red throats, pale undersides and long tail streamers. They are in the UK from March to October and migrate south in the winter. Female swallows sit on their eggs until they hatch. There are usually four or five chicks in each brood. Feeding them is a very busy job; five chicks can eat about 6,000 insects every day, so adult swallows can be seen flying around Junior Farm all day.
Ian Russell, Director Wroxham Barns said: “We are really pleased to be working closely with the RSPB at Junior Farm. We opened our hide three years ago to help visitors understand more about the birds on site and have had excellent support and advice from the RSPB. Our ‘Swallowcam’ will give both children and adults a greater appreciation of the natural world around them. It will also be fun watching the swallow chicks develop over the summer months.”
Joanne Hand, Regional Projects Manager RSPB said: “Follow the Swallow’ at Wroxham Barns is part of a busy programme of family activities being organised by the RSPB in the Broads this summer. We are bringing people and the wonderful broadland wildlife together wherever possible – both at our nature reserve at Strumpshaw Fen and in local communities and at Broads-based visitor attractions”.
Junior Farm is open daily 10am to 5pm; entry charge is £5.75 (under 2 free). Wroxham Barns, http://www.wroxhambarns.co.uk/, tel. 01603 783762 is 10 miles from Norwich, take A1151 to Wroxham then follow brown and white tourist signs for 1.5miles on the Tunstead road. Free parking.