Friday, 23 August 2013

Swallow, swallow, little swallow

There are lots of young birds around at the moment including these fledgling swallows, beautifully caught on camera by our neighbours who stealthily crept up on them from indoors. They were the second brood and their parents have now, unusually, produced a third from their nest in the porch to which the birds return from Africa every year. The young also always use this windowsill as a halfway point in their initial attempts at flight, which must be a terrifying experience.

It is therefore a bad time to be a moth. But also an encouraging one for moth devotees because there would not be so many swallows and other birds around without a healthy diet of insects to sustain them. The swallows' joyful swooping looks as though the birds are simply relishing the joy of flight but they are actually Hoovering up smaller flying prey. From this, as some sagacious Belgian friends of ours reminded me on a walk yesterday, comes the tradition that swallows flying high means warm weather (when insects will also climb) while low portends rain. Our neighbours have also noticed how at fledging time, the adults zoom close to the nest, effectively saying: 'Look at us kids! You can do this too."

Our windows continue to stun too many inexperienced birds which haven't quite got the hang of things, and sometimes, sadly, kill them. The second two pictures show two recent survivors which wouldn't have let me creep up so closely if they hadn't been dazed.

Meanwhile our strategy of sowing nasturtiums all round our vegetables to divert very hungry caterpillars seems to be working. Mind you, there are plenty on our cauliflowers,sprouts and broccoli too.

And to end with, a moth, just to keep me on the right side of the Trade Descriptions Act. It's a Gold Swift which became so absorbed in the laces of my trainers that it was still there half-an-hour later, even though I had been stomping around gardening.


Louisette said...

Interesting articles,greeting from Belgium

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there!

Great to hear from Belgium. Our Belgian friends have left now after a great day at Blenheim but I'm sure they'll be back soon.

all warm wishes