Swallow nest, Newington
Ali and I called at a little country pub just outside Bawtry. It was a lovely clear day so we sat outside and had a drink after our meal. We noticed several times a swallow flying over our heads and going into a porch area. It kept disappearing and then flying off behind us through a gap in the fence. I got the camera and entered the porch. At first I couldn’t see the nest, but then, to my surprise, there it was – full of little heads with gaping mouths, on top of a light fitting! I stood well back so I didn’t disturb the feeding parents, who kept flying in with food for the little ones.
It was so close and personal, a great birding moment once again for me and Alison. When we sat down, the swallows even posed for us as they rested from their tiring exploits of catching food (see below pictures).
The swallow is a familiar summer visitor to the UK from April to October, and is a long distance migrant wintering in tropical Africa. How amazing that they get to the same nesting site when they come back to Britain! Nests are usually found in village roof eaves and farm buildings, and you often see them sitting on telegraph wires, roofs and skimming the water’s edge for insects, etc. The nest is a tight cup of mud and straw grass with the top open. Eggs are white with red speckles and the young will usually fledge after 18 to 23 days.
If you haven’t watched swallows taking a drink in flight and catching insects from the top of the river or lake, you’ve missed a treat. They are exciting to hear and see, and to think they return to Africa every year – what a super little bird!