20 AUGUST 1948, Page 14

The Devlin It is surprising that in my immediate neighbourhood

the swifts (about whose migratory movements a special enquiry has been organised) have almost taken the place of swallows. They are more numerous, fly low as well as high, and are nesting in cottage roofs. They are not, of course, of the rice of swallows, but their appearance naturally suggests comparison. The flight is quite their own, quicker than the swallow's or martin's, but not nearly so smooth and easy and beautiful ; and the devlin, or devling as he is still called in the North, has never been a garden favourite, and often, in the past, the nest was hard to find and unapproachable. Are they Changing their habits? It has seemed to me that of late years they have arrived a little less late and departed a little less early. With me, the departure of the swifts in mid-August almost synchronised with the arrival of hosts of swallows. They suddenly became numerous throughout the district. No doubt they, too, were beginning their migra- tion from more northerly homes. The autumnal movements are usually much less definite than the spring, and are more distinctly conditioned by local weather, of which the less said the better.