Swallows have returned to the farmyard, migrating across hemispheres and traversing vast oceans to nest with us for the summer.

Darting over our shed roofs, calling to each other with high-pitched screams, for me they are one of the most tangible and welcoming signs that the days are finally getting longer and warmer.

No other bird, perhaps with the exception of the increasingly uncommon cuckoo, symbolises the coming of spring and the promise of warmth and sunshine, and goodness knows we needed that promise this year.

I have an ear for the warbling of the swallow and can also recognise a few other birds from their song alone but I know some farmers who can identify most species, a talent after working among them for much of their lifetime.

For those of us who don’t have that gift, technology can fill that gap with a brilliant phone app that records bird sounds and flags up the likely species behind the tweet.

Using this, I have discovered that our farmyard is populated mostly by robins, wrens, blackbirds and goldfinches. The app has also picked up the calls of the song thrush, buzzard, jay, jackdaw, lesser spotted woodpecker, chiffchaff and the omnipresent wood pigeon.

For me the joy of this app is that I can now recognise more bird songs, the nuances and subtle differences that distinguish one from the other. It's called Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store (other apps may be available!)

It’s just as well that I am familiar with the swallow though as weirdly the app seems to ignore it.

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Shakespeare celebrated the swallow’s return, with one character noting its connection with the seasons: “The swallow follows not summer more willing than we your lordship.”

Aristotle did, too, though he also warned: “One swallow does not a summer make, nor one fine day.”

Whatever the summer has in store for us we will enjoy the company of our swallows until the autumn when they and their new families leave Pembrokeshire and head back to Africa once again.