Friday, 17 July 2009

Baby swallows in the rain

These small black dots are baby swallows sitting on the lawn, waiting to be fed - I think it's too windy and rainy for them to fly, so their parents are making regular sorties with laden beaks. The picture was taken through the window because it's raining too hard to set foot outside, and anyway, I didn't want to disturb the poor things.

Rather better is this picture, taken by younger son at the beginning of the week, a much later brood of babies. Three heads, I believe, in a delightfully warm and feathery nest, some of the feathers, I rather think, contributed by the Bluebell Girls.

For weeks now, I have been regularly woken at dawn - about 3.30am at the solstice last month - by liquid bubblings and churrings just outside my open window: the swallow babies waiting for their breakfast. They line up on the guttering and wait for a bristling beakful of flies. At least when I look at my untidy garden I can console myself with the knowledge that it's a excellent hunting ground, helping to provide for good numbers of babies each year - swallows, flycatchers, wagtails, bats, and the ever-present and garrulous sparrows.

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