While Stu was taken breakfast in bed this morning in recognition of Father’s Day, one feathered father in the garden had a far from restful day.
The swallows that have been nesting in the stables fledged this morning and daddy (and mummy) swallow have been busy throughout the day bringing insects for the chicks. This fabulous spectacle has been a father’s day treat we couldn’t have planned.
It has been wonderful viewing. Over the past few weeks we’ve grown used to seeing the swallows swooping across the field, diving down low over the lawn and darting into the stables at full speed. But this morning, there seemed to be more activity than normal. And as I looked more closely I noticed five, rather fluffy chicks perched precariously on the fence. I called Maddie and grabbed my camera, and we crouched behind a tree and watched in wonder.
The chicks really looked too young to be out, with their fluffy down still visible. They haven’t yet got the distinctive colouring of the adults, and they looked a little wobbly on that fence. But they were alert and all watching intently for the parents, who were bringing them insects every couple of minutes or so. They were noisey too, vying for the parent’s attention enthusiastically each time they returned with food.
And we soon realised that they could fly. As we tried to move a little closer, they all took off and the sky seemed filled with swallows. After a minute or two they settled again on the fence and lunch continued.
Bramble noticed them too. She’s an accomplished hunter and I was worried for the chicks. I watched as she crouched low, slinking across the lawn to get a closer look. But Mummy and Daddy swallow were on the ball and both swooped fast and low at Bramble, missing her by centimetres and Bramble made a hasty retreat.
By late evening, all the swallows had gone. I’m hoping that they’re just roosting back in the stable and that they’ll be out again tomorrow for some more enthralling viewing.