Thursday, 12 August 2010

One swallow alone does not make the summer

A few weeks ago I posted that we had some unexpected (but welcome) visitors. A pair of swallows built a nest above our front door. We started using the side door so we wouldn't disturb them. Out of sight and out of mind, I'd forgot all about them.

As I closed up the chicken houses last night I heard chicks peeping. Where the hell is that coming from? Then I remembered the nest.

And found four small frowning faces hanging out of it. Well done swallow mom and dad.

They look like they will be fledging any time now. It's seems to me that they're a late hatch. They will be setting off soon on their long distance migration to Southern Africa, where our British swallows spend their winters. I hope these chicks will be strong enough to make the journey.

On my evening dog walks I watch dozens of swallows plucking insects from the air above the open fields. Their acrobatics are hypnotic to watch and I stretch out our walks until the light starts to go, just to marvel at them. The insects, the swallows' main food source, look like rich pickings right now so perhaps the chicks are in with a good chance.

I'll miss them but I won't miss this -

The by-product of swallows nesting above your front door. But it's a small price to pay. And what's a bit more bird poop around this place anyway?


Poppy Cottage said...

Don't know what happened there, Seem to have lost my comment!! See you tomorrow after 9 if that is still ok. Text me if different.x

Kate said...

Cute little things. If you're not using that door till they leave, maybe you could put a pile of mulch there. Easier to clean up I'd guess, and a little free fertilizer thrown in. Or maybe it's so late at this point that it's not worth the effort?

Jennifer Montero said...

Colette - No problem, just send me a text when you're on your way. Hope you like zucchini bread.

Kate - I scooped the free fertiliser with my dog poop shovel (we are SO prepared to deal with poop here..) and added it straight to the compost pile. Free N is always welcome.

Paula said...

They look really cute peering over the side of their nest. I hope they do okay.

I've been able to watch swooping swallows for the first time in my life since we moved here. I never noticed them anywhere else I've lived, but there's a lot of open space here for them.

What I'd really like to see are some bats.

Jennifer Montero said...

Paula - Bats are the second shift. They take over from the swallows when it gets dark and feed on the insects. When we're sat eating dinner we see them flit and dive past the window. I think they're pipistrelle bats.

I know you have a soft spot for bats, and I hope you find the swallows just as entertaining.

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

When I was growing up, my neighbors had swallows that nested in their barn every summer. They always scared me, swooping in and out. They also used to dive bomb and strafe my cats in the yard, which was kinda funny to watch as the cats flattened themselves right down in the grass. Before I got to your last picture, I was thinking to myself, "Oh yeah, and there was all that POOP in the barn, too" and then I got to your last picture. My neighbors could not park their cars in the barn during the summer! Nice reminder of growing up for me. I still see them, occasionally, but they are not a part of my daily summer life anymore, where I am now, in town.

Cynthia said...

There are several pairs of swallows that nest at our public swimming pool, under the eaves of the building. They drink from the pool while flying, and seem to keep the mosquitoes in check. Plus their little faces are so charming. Fortunately they seem to pick corners rather than, say, right over the changing room door.