Tag Archives: Hirundo rustica

Chicklet is

Winter is coming. Some of the Swallows have left already….

Some of them. Rosa and her family are still here.

I am not exactly sure when the others went or even if they have all gone. If I stand around outside my front door I get dive bombed by seven Swallows  (Rosa’s family) but yesterday when I was filming Chicklet I became aware that there was no activity in places where I knew other Swallows were nesting and when Rosa took her family off there were no other Swallows in the air. Some of them have left.

(I have just been out for a walk to look at other nests and there are still quite a few birds about they just seem to have thinned out a lot)

This could be the difficult time. I knew that Rosa wouldn’t leave without Chicklet. Now the question is how soon before he is  ready to go? He only fledged yesterday.

Of course Fledging isn’t just about a single flight. The parents are still feeding him and they keep bringing him back to the nest.

Two Swallows came here from Africa, when Rosa and Fred leave they will be taking five new ones away with them. Swallow numbers don’t double or treble every year, if they did we wouldn’t be able to see the sky by now, their numbers stay pretty static. Some of the seven Swallows that leave here won’t be coming back. I don’t know which ones but it is a very long and hard flight to Africa and many perish on the way from exhaustion and starvation and some are taken by storms.

That is how it has to be or the sky would be blacked out. Nature has a balance.

Chicklet made Rosa very happy and today he is making her happy, that is all that anyone can ask for.

He is beautiful.

He needs a few weeks yet to build up a bit of strength and get used to his wings. That shouldn’t be a problem, it is very early for the Swallows to be leaving and the weather here is getting better.

I am pleased that Rosa and her family will be staying around for a while yet because I will sorely miss them when they are gone. 🙂

Until next year.

Rosa’s Chicklet

This is just a brief update on Rosa.

I haven’t been watching her closely. I can hear her singing away outside of my window so I have known that everything was okay with her new brood I thought that I would give them a few days to grow.

This morning I put the camera out to watch them and I got a bit of a surprise. There is only one.

That is very good news. Less work for Rosa and the chick will get more food and stand a better chance.

I still don’t think that the chick has much hope. It won’t be fledged until a week into September and the birds usually leave in September. We could do with a heat wave to keep them here for a couple of extra weeks but it is freezing cold today.

I woke up this morning and put a T shirt on because it is August and pretty soon I had to put a shirt over that and now I have got  a body warmer over that Brrrr. Maybe I am coming down with something.

Good news though and it is a cute one. 🙂

Born too late

Rosa has been acting strangely and I was concerned so this morning I set out my camera to watch her.

For new readers, Rosa and Fred are Barn Swallows. There are lots of swallows around the farm but these two occupied a nest just outside of my front door and I have been watching them all summer.

They raised their first brood very successfully and that was well documented on this blog. You can see them fledging in the “Destiny” post on the sidebar.

Barn Swallow Nestlings

Their second brood died. I don’t know why but Rosa started crying. There is a call that she makes that is unlike the normal happy chirrup. I first heard it when the first brood were fledging and she tried to encourage them out of the nest. It  is how a Barn Swallow calls for her young. At first it was a joyful sound as she encouraged her brood to flight but when she lost her second brood she called for them constantly.

A couple of days after she started crying I found two dead babies under the nest they had been thrown out. She kept crying and they built a new nest just opposite the old one after about a week it became obvious from the smell that there were still dead chicks in the old nest.

She cried for about two weeks and then she stopped. She lost the second brood a month ago. For the last two weeks she has been sitting on the nest. I could pretty much guess what she was up to but told myself no it wasn’t possible.

This morning I had to set the camera up and check. I wanted to see if the other birds were feeding her. It is worse than that.

So why is such a joyful and happy event as a new brood such bad news? Because it is too late for them. There is no time for them to build the strength that they will need for the flight to Africa.

If they had been fledged a month ago they would have struggled, the second brood always do but hatching now they don’t really stand much chance. They have to cross the Sahara Desert.

I think that Rosa and Fred will be all right. Swallows don’t put on much weight prior to migration, they feed on the way so the distraction of a new brood to feed won’t do them much harm and they are happy again. Anyway she was pretty determined about what she wanted and maybe the young ones will get lucky.

It is good to see them happy today and today is all that anyone can really ask for.

Fred (The Barn Swallow)

I have had to modify my plans a bit for today. It is beautiful and sunny outside and I am stuck indoors.

There are amazing things going on in my kitchen cupboard.

Anyway I decided to take a break from pacing back and forth and I stood outside to feel the warmth of the sun and Fred lit down on the gate just feet in front of me. He waited while I  took his picture and then he sang a little song for me.

Good old Fred.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

What is happening in my kitchen that is so exciting?

I will tell you later…. 🙂Peacock Larvae

Bird on a wire

Sorry if I haven’t got around to visiting your site yet, I will do soon. I am just having a slow start to the day. An hour here or there shouldn’t make that much difference, should it? That is what I am telling myself 🙂

I have been watching my birds.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn SwallowRosa has been getting my attention. I was wrong about what she was doing. She has constructed a new nest and the reason is obvious now.

As my landlord commented to me this morning, “I think one of your birds has died, I can smell the beggar.” Yes there is an evident smell in the passage that they nest in. I picked up two dead chicks from under the nest a couple of days ago and at the time I wondered where the others were. They are still in the old nest. She must have been unable to throw them out and that explains her distress. She was still crying yesterday but she is okay today. I haven’t heard that call once today.

She has built a new nest on the opposite side of the passage. All of the birds helped make it. I saw the young from the first brood collecting grass and twigs for it.

This is a very short video of Rosa on her new nest. I want it for the song, This is the joyful sound that has filled my flat all summer.

It is very short but I can just keep clicking replay and I am happy 🙂

The bird in the pictures above was an adult male (long tail feathers) this next one is one of this years fledglings.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn SwallowYou can tell the new birds because they don’t have the long tail streamers yet. Go on, show us your tail.

Barn Swallow

Barn SwallowThank you 🙂

Barn Swallow

Rosa and Fred (A love story)

This is Rosa. You can recognise her because she has lost a tail feather,  She lost it ages ago and you can see that in the videos of the first brood.

Barn SwallowRosa has been very unhappy, she lost her babies.

This is Fred, he has much longer tail feathers than Rosa. Fred is a bird with a plan.

Barn Swallow“We can try again”

Oh! Fred, Fred, Fred. There isn’t time.

So now Rosa is happy again.

Barn SwallowShe has spent the morning nest building. Not a new nest she is just freshening up the old one and making it a bit bigger for a new brood.

Barn Swallow

Barn SwallowPoor Fred.

Barn SwallowHe just couldn’t bear to see her so unhappy, couldn’t bear to hear her crying. She was driving me nuts, imagine what it must have been like for poor Fred.

Barn Swallow

Barn SwallowI don’t think that there is time for them to have another brood now and for the new birds to build their strength up for the flight to Africa which they must make. What can you say?

How do you say no to such a beautiful and unhappy lady?

Barn Swallow

Barn SwallowYou say it like this Fred, “No! N.O. spells NO! No!”

9bBuild your nest. My love is always with you and at least you have shut her up.

Barn Swallow

Happy chatter again. 🙂

The Swallows are back!

Well I think that we have a second brood. They are too small to stick their heads out yet and I can not see inside the nest but I think that there are newly hatched chicks there.

Here is Mama sitting on the nest She is just being beautiful.

The rest of this post might seem a bit gross if you haven’t had your breakfast yet.

Here is a ten second video illustrating one of the responsibilities of raising a brood, namely removing the droppings from the nest. The young birds in this video are the first brood and at this point they haven’t fledged and are nest bound.

So that is what you have to do.

I set the camera up yesterday hoping to see the parent birds removing droppings from the nest, I didn’t expect to see any more than that. Instead I got this..The male bird appears to swallow something white.

I think that amounts to the same thing he is cleaning the nest and there are newly hatched chicks in there. 🙂

We  shall be watching them grow and then sadly we shall have to watch them fly off to Africa…

But not for a bit.

She Sings

I think that we have a new brood on the way. There is a lot of sitting on the nest going on.

Barn Swallow NestA bird has taken to sitting just outside of my window.

Barn Swallow

Barn SwallowShe chatters away and she sings really loudly… at four o’clock in the morning.

Barn SwallowOf course I sleep with my windows wide open, you would do too. It is a beautiful summer sound. Most of the other birds have given up on the dawn chorus but the Swallows are as noisy as ever. I have been trying to record her but I am getting a lot of engine noise from my camera and I am not happy with the results yet.

Ha Ha! She is chattering away as I write this 🙂

It looks like it is going to be a nice day, lots of blue sky.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

It’s your destiny

The Swallows have fledged, or at least they are fledging. They are still in the nest today but they have been out and they can fly.

It has taken me a few days watching and all that you get are a couple of short video’s but for me, my understanding and the pleasure that I got from watching them makes a few days just a drop in the ocean. It was time well spent.

Anyway you should be glad that you don’t have to watch the whole twenty hours of video, that I now have to sort and delete from my machine to free up space.

Here are the best bits.

Yesterday morning there were five birds on the nest, there were five birds on the nest and then there were four birds on the nest. I had missed the very first flight and only realised when number five returned to the nest.

This first video starts with the mother calling for them to leave the nest, there is a little comic interlude of the way that they follow flies, their little heads bobbing in unison and in the last bit the second bird to approach the nest is the returning chick. Does he bring food back or do the others just think that he has?

This next video shows them leaving the nest and returning. They spent most of the day fluttering around inside the little alley way that has become their home and by the end of the day they were all settled back on the nest but this is fledging. Today I think that they have ventured outside and seen the blue sky but they still return to the nest.

These birds have made me think a lot about nature as a whole thing and about life and death in the wild. The caterpillars that I am trying to raise are falling to the parasitoid flies that these Swallows depend on for food and survival. The parents have done a really good job of raising them given the wet weather we have been having. I have often looked out in the pouring rain and wondered how they are managing to raise a brood and now this, flight.

I am so in in love and in awe of them and so damned jealous.

I am jealous because they get to eat those delicious crunchy flies, or perhaps because they can raise offspring in a matter of weeks and not the 26 years it usually takes us. Maybe I am jealous of something else altogether…..



Glued to the Nest

Sorry to have been away from the blogosphere for so long but I have been doing important nature observation work. I have been watching these bloomin’ Swallows for two days hoping to catch the first flight and despite all the video evidence to suggest that it is about to happen it hasn’t.

At eight thirty this evening we still have five little Swallows in the nest.

If one of them would just slip off the nest even just for a second then I would be happy to call that a flight and get on with other business but it looks like I shall be back on the nest in the morning.