Waiting for summer guests | 1/5/2012
Written by Cate | No comments yet
Somewhere between North Norfolk and South Africa the swallows must be on their way. I wonder when they left their winter home and what natural magic gave them the call? In the autumn I saw them restless to leave and on a day of abandoned sky realised that they had gone. When they go, they travel through Western France, across the Pyrenees and down the east of Spain into Morocco. Then across the Sahara. Some avoid crossing that huge desert and fly down the west coast of Africa. Other European swallows fly down the Nile Valley. Covering around 200 miles a day…..pretty amazing for a creature that weighs about 21 grams. Which is the supposed weight of the soul.
They nest year after year on the dark ledges in our stable (there’s no horse in residence – just mice). The tumbledown barns and old attics where they used to nest are being reclaimed by humans – like us in our converted barn house. So we are loathe to do anything fancy with the stable and risk banishing the swallows from our garden forever. Last year a swallow made its bowl-shaped nest in the eaves by Bayfield Cottage and spent the summer diving past our heads in a flashy Top Gun kind of way. During the winter a wren moved in and built sort of lid, like adding a loft extension. I assume it now has squatters’ rights. Whatever the wren feels about their return, we can’t wait to see the swallows bringing their promise of summer. Hope they’ve got umbrellas.