Some years ago I commented on the possible decimation of the Swallow and Housemartin population in Durban: “I read in a news item that South Africa is about to demonstrate more moderization. Four million swallows that migrate annually to that country are to have their habitate polluted by unnecessary development. The burghers of Durban are about to construct a new international airport on this sensitive site. A study compiled by the Pietermaritzburg-based Institute of Natural Resources, a nongovernmental organisation says,” 224 species of birds were recorded at the site. The presence of barn swallows is the primary environmental concern counting against the development of Durban International Airport. More than a million barn swallows are roosting, with up to 2-million of the birds calculated last year. These would undoubtedly represent a safety issue for aircraft. It warns noise pollution will be a significant consequence for areas such as Mount Moreland and Herrwood.” Wildlife preservation seems low on that countries list of liberal priorities: Long line tuna fishing vessals in South African waters kill at least ten albatrosses every day. I hope some sense prevails and Britains summer visitors, and the albatrosses,are not killed in the name of wanton commercialism. The airport is part of preparatons of the worldcup soccer circus scheduled to take place in SA in 2010.”
The summer before this was written scores of these birds could be seen in the skies from my garden. They heralded a new summer.
This month I have seen two maybe three pairs – I would like to think Durbanians are hanging their heads in shame – but I doubt it!!