Despite the bad weather we have been having, the swallows and house martins in my area seem to have successfully raised good numbers of fledglings.

These birds depend on a plentiful supply of insects to feed their young, so it has been encouraging to see adult birds bringing beakfuls of food to their hungry offspring.

A lot of warnings have been issued about the decline in species which migrate to the Mediterranean and Africa for winter.

But recent figures produced by bird experts the British Trust for Ornithology show that 2013 to 2014 was a good year for many of Britain’s birds.

The latest results from the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) brought some short-term, positive news for a range of both migratory and resident species against a backdrop of long-term declines for many, long-distance migrants in particular.

The BTO says the possible reasons for these short-term increases vary between species. There is no evidence that the 2013 breeding season was a particularly good one, and for some species it was a poor season, probably related to the fact it was the UK’s coldest spring since 1962.

The willow warbler — a common woodland species in the Largs area during spring and summer — was one of the species that showed an increase (up six per cent).

Others on the increase were lesser whitethroat (+34%), whitethroat (+18%), tree pipit (+31%) and the familiar cuckoo (+27%). These are among the long-distance species, that travel south of the Sahara for the winter months, to have increased between 2013 and 2014.

The survival of migratory species is thought to be influenced by rainfall levels in an area called the Sahel, just south of the Sahara. This applies for species that spend the winter there, and those that use the region as a stop-over site (a place to rest and refuel before continuing further south), such as tree pipit, willow warbler and cuckoo.

Despite the favourable short-term trends revealed in the BBS report, the long-term trends for many of our migratory species are not so positive. Between 1995 and 2013, cuckoo declined by 46%, spotted flycatcher by 47%, whinchat by 54%, wood warbler by 58%, pied flycatcher by 60% and, turtle dove by 91%, with large decreases also found in several other species.

I just hope my local swallows, house martins and willow warblers survive what the rest of this ‘summer’ has in store.