Unruffled by a rare rain and unseasonal chill, the swallows returned Tuesday to the San Juan Capistrano Mission, making good on a centuries-old custom.

The Spanish mission bells chimed a welcome at 8:07 a.m. as the birds appeared over the courtyard.The first of the migratory fork-tailed birds were spotted Monday, scouting the way for the rest at the end of their annual journey that begins a hemisphere away in Goya, Argentina.

It was the first time since 1962 that the returning swallows have braved wet weather to follow their instincts in the ritual that coincides every year with the feast day of St. Joseph.