Update on the swallows

The photographs of the swallows that I put up before were from Monday the 23rd June.

By Monday 30th they were looking much more like little fat birds. Unfortunately I only had the camera on my phone with me, which doesn’t have a zoom.

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Even so, you can tell they are looking much more like their parents, and the nest was looking much more crowded. They stared down at me sullenly, like recalcitrant teens sitting on a wall and eyeballing the passers-by.

Also, they seemed to produce a great deal more droppings, and now they were big enough and strong enough to turn round and stick their stubby little tails over the edge of the nest. One interesting thing about that was the time I saw a parent swoop to catch the dropping as it fell through the air, and carry it outside. A little research told me this is normal behaviour to reduce the likelihood of predators finding the nest. I just wish they’d been more diligent in intercepting the ones that fell on Drifter. Horse owners are used to grooming off poo, but it’s usually originated from the horse itself!

I didn’t manage to take a proper camera to the stable until Thursday 3rd July, by which time again there was a marked change in them.

DSCN5292DSCN5291DSCN5279DSCN5283I struggled to take great pictures because holding the camera still at arm’s length over my head for the slow exposures needed for dim light without flash was really tough when I was exhausted from a busy day at work and a busy week. I thought, well, I’m having a day off riding tomorrow, but I’ll take my camera again on Saturday.

So today, 12 days after my first photos of the fuzzy little muppet creatures, I found they looked like this:

DSCN5341Oh, bye guys!

 

However, from my reading I knew the parents would do their best to keep them returning to the nest for a few weeks, so I loitered quietly with the camera.

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I think these are some of the youngsters. The flying looked clumsy and they looked very fluffy. But on the other hand their throats look very red in these pictures compared to two days before, so perhaps not.

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Drifter’s little ones are all grown up and will soon be flown away. But you know what? Swallows can have two or three batches of babies each year, so I’ll still be keeping an eye on the nest, and maybe I’ll be cleaning bird droppings off my horse again later in the summer 😀

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Outsourcing

Drifter is equipped with a very generous natural fly swat.DSCN5217

 

However he has decided it is easiest to outsource fly control in his stable to an efficient family run group of specialists.

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There appear to be at least 4 chicks, all of which look like something created by Jim Henson, with those wide yellow mouths and grey fuzzy heads. Wikipedia tells me that in all likelihood the parents, both of whom feed the chicks (in fact they nearly crashed into each other today trying to go to the nest at the same time) are at each feeding delivering a bolus of between 10 and 100 insects at a time. I have to hand it to Drifter – that is a lot more efficient than swishing your tail at the flies!