Friday, 24 August 2012

One Swallow does not a summer make

Today I saw some swallows nesting in the porch of the Church at Bladon. As it happens, Bladon is the church in which Winston Churchill is buried. However, it was the swallows that caught my attention. They were amazing. Ma and Da were flitting in and out feeding their young.

 I saw them on the approach to the Church, and on leaving the young were framed beautifully above a wooden beam and they welcomed a feed noisily. I didn't have a camera, so I took no pictures. 

These little wonders excited and amazed me because in just a few weeks they will fly to Africa, journeying over 200 miles a day to complete the journey in just 10 days. They migrate by day at low altitudes and find food on the way. Despite accumulating some fat reserves before crossing large areas such as the Sahara Desert, they are vulnerable to starvation during these crossings. Migration is a hazardous time and many birds die from starvation, exhaustion and in storms. 

Looking at them I thought of the mammoth task they had ahead. This might have been Mum and Dad's first brood of chicks, but more likely they would have had another this summer, which has already fledged and found their way in the world around the UK. They might have had two. This brood, however, will journey straight from the nest and face a battle for their lives with no time to test the strength in their wings. They will will have to trust and go. I loved them when I saw them and I wish them well.  :-)

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