Monday, September 24, 2007

Fly away

Swallows are, I think, my favourite birds. I love everything about them: their first appearance, swooping low over the fields, signalling that summer’s around the corner; their cream chests and rosy cheeks; the athleticism of the adults in their aerial arcs; the cherubic babies with their wide mouths in an ever-present grin.

But this ridiculous hotchpotch of weather has conned some couples into breeding again, leaving it dangerously late for their brood to build up the strength for their long journey to Africa. The one good thing about this year’s plague of flies is that they still have plenty to eat. But time isn’t on their side; just last week the brood living in the bottom corner stable was fluffy and soft. Expecting them to make the trip to warmer climes would be like asking a toddler to run the London Marathon. I feared for their future.

I went to look at them tonight. The babies of last week were gone; perched on the beams were little navy coated adults. Suddenly, like a flurry of fallen leaves caught up in a gust of wind, four or five of them were dancing in the air, swooping amid the rafters to show me what they could do.

I hope the weather is kind. I really hope they make it.

34 comments:

@themill said...

......and back again next year.

Gill said...

I hope they make it there and back again too!

'ow is yer 'oss?

mutterings and meanderings said...

@themill, I do hope so!

Gill, I'll be better able to tell tomorrow - you have to wait 48 hrs until the medication is out of their system before before you can get a true picture. She had her last dose on Sunday. Fingers crossed. Thanks for thinking of her.

IsobelMagsBuchan said...

They are beautiful birds. When I was a child you rarely saw them in this neck of the woods but I have noticed since returning here from London 6 years ago that there are now many.

Not as many as on Corfu though. The children adore watching the chicks in their nests when we are over there in early summer although Mr Mags isn't quite so keen. Marked for life you might say. Swallow pooh in the eye on more than one occasion tends to put you off the little cherubs!

Iota said...

Yes, and the adults must be pretty exhausted too - two broods instead of one in a season. They are lovely birds - so graceful.

Gill said...

We get a lot of swifts here too and I love those, but my favourite bird is possibly the lapwing.

Mopsa said...

Yes, have been having the same thoughts. The baby swallows I snapped and posted in early July have fledged and gone and their parents have had a second brood, now all feathered up. They can fly alright, but can they make it that far? Fave birds? Nuthatch and the Wren.

Karen said...

My favourite bird is peregrine falcon! But i also like wrens for being trogledytes trogledytes (or however you spell it) in latin

Dick Madeley said...

Swallow pie is lovely. I had some in Kent last year and was surprised how light it was. Tasted a little bit like turkey.

muddyboots said...

love swallows & swifts, always look forward to their return.

st said...

M&M,
a pair in the same situation here they have just let the nest. I don't think there old enough, for the journey.
My swallows were late returning this year, but the real sound of summer is swifts reeling. This envokes childhood memories.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

oh no, you've got me all worried now. At least they seem to be growing up fast (kids today, tsk), so hopefully, they'll at least make it onto an illegal boat from Spain to morrocco...ah, but don't the illegal boats go in the opposite direction? Well then there is no hope.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I always know when summer has arrived when I lie on my back on our lawn and admire the wizardry of the first swallows weaving through the air.

Rob Clack said...

We've been trying for years to persuade house martins to nest under our eaves by fixing artificial nests.
This year, for the first time, we had a martin in residence, though just the one, so not breeding. Maybe next year!

And as Gill said, 'ow is yer 'oss? It's had the extra day now.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Unfortunately she's still not right Rob.

I'm giving her til the weekend, then I'll have to get the vet out.

Gill said...

oh poor grey mare. I hope she is well soon. You must be very worried about her.

Omega Mum said...

This is the one thing I don't understand about these birds. They can mate on the wing, navigate themselves to Africa yet they're incapable of sorting out childcare.

ziggi said...

thinking of GM - hope she's making good progress.

lady macleod said...

Send them on! I will lay out seeds on the terrace.

GeraniumCat said...

Sorry to hear the Grey Mare's still not well - hope she's doing better today?

debio said...

The swallows who came to my last UK house usually had two lots of babies - every year I worried that they would be too young to join the exodus but every year they all flew off together.

Simply adore them - but their leaving always made me sad.

lady macleod said...

There is a little something for you over at my place:-)

Lord Higham- Murray said...

Wonderful post and I'm going to incorporate it in my own post now.

rilly super said...

seeing the swallows head south always make me come over all Justin Hayward

I wish that I was going with them
Now you're not here...

sob

Nunhead Mum of One said...

There was a blackbird jauntily strutting around the bird table this morning - I gave him an extra big bit of wholemeal bap soaked in bacon fat!

Marianne said...

Swallows leaving, dank orchards, relentless rain outside. Summer seems a distant dream.

Mopsa said...

Hope all is well M&M, we haven't heard from you for a week.

occasional northerner said...

Just checking on your horse. Any progress?

mutterings and meanderings said...

Thank you folks.

Haven't been of a blogging frame of mind the last week - worrying about me hoss and looking after sister's four while she was sunning herself on a mediterranean beach ...

Anyway, vet here again today... hopefully we know what it is now and I will write about it when I am less tired!

Again, thanks for thinking of the Grey Mare.

Gill said...

Glad to hear from you again eminem-have been thinking of you and worrying about yer 'oss. Strange how the internet can help you become emotionally attached to an animal you've never met. Even more strange as I'm not that interested in horses as a rule!

Karen said...

Hi M&M glad to 'ear from you. I was starting to think the worst 'ad 'appened to your 'oss and you were too grief stricken to blog. 'ope you manage to get things sorted with 'er 'ooves.

Brom said...

Glad things are on the up !

ziggi said...

ooo I was worried, still am a bit - more progres report please.

rilly super said...

hope she is well soon M&M