After the Swallows

We have been a couple of days without swallows and have been gradually starting to use our passageway again, instead of walking the long way round.

The empty nest.
First pass clean of the guano…

It looks like the nest is here to stay:

“Les personnes tentées de détruire des nids d’hirondelles à cause des fientes, de grippe aviaire… risquent de fortes amendes car elles sont protégées au niveau européen. Les amendes varient en fonction du nid, s’il est vide, avec des œufs, des oisillons… L’amende minimum est aux alentours de 1 000 € pour un nid vide et allant jusqu’à 12 000 € avec une condamnation pour un nid habité.”

I have read today that pairs often use exactly the same nest for a second brood. There should just be time before they head off to South Africa.

One study showed that 40% of pairs returned to the nest the following year. {There are probably fatalities during migration.}

So Mrs Swallow will be back sitting zazen soon or we shall have to wait until next spring…

Aerial Photography – 17 Swallows

All five of our resident swallows have now fledged, they have moved from the nest up onto the TV aerial. We have seven residents now. It will be interesting to see if they go back to the nest to overnight.

This morning “our” swallows were joined by perhaps two other families. There were 17 of the blighters and together they can make quite a racket…

This means we will get our passage back and have a big pile of guano to move.

Unless Mrs Swallow lays another clutch….

Jardin 23-06-2021 around 5pm.

These with a Canon EFS 55-250mm telephoto.

This is probably the biggest Roach in the pond, they hang out at “plughole corner” this time of day.
This dragonfly is about 50mm long!
You have to use manual focus for this.
ripples of tranquility
the calla lilies are starting to fade with the heat
the “central section” in bloom
floral vibrancy
an aerial photo of Mr and Mrs Swallow
Mrs Swallow on her eggs, she is high up in the nest and her tail is on the wall.

Mrs Swallow Has Started Brooding

She calmly let me take this with the telephoto lens just now.

The following are excepted from Vinehousefarm

Swallow diet and food

Entirely flying insects caught on the wing.

Swallow nesting and breeding habits

The Swallow’s association with mankind is of course very much about the species’ adapting to use manmade structures for nesting. Indeed, thousands of years ago it is likely that the Swallow’s population was much smaller as it was reliant on natural structures – e.g. the entrance to a cave – for nesting. The nest site is typically a ledge or timber beam in a barn, garage or other outbuilding. However, Swallows will sometimes choose the most unlikely site which might, for example, be a ledge in the small porch of a house. Overall though, the Swallow is normally looking to fly into some sort of building, then locate a suitable platform to build its nest on which is out of the way of predators – so often high up in the roof area – and also relatively dark and cool in temperature. The nest is built of wet mud (which then hardens to form a solid structure) and combined with plant materials, then lined with dried grass and feathers. There are two to three broods per season with around 4-5 eggs in each. The female incubates the eggs, though both parents feed the young.


Swallows need open country, especially rich pasture, with suitable places to nest. They also favour locations with nearby stretches of water, with this aiding the abundance of their food of flying insects – as does farming areas with livestock, versus intensely farmed arable areas which will harbour relatively few insects. So an ideal habitat might be a rural farm with plenty of old barns and other buildings, cattle in rich pastures surrounded by hedgerows, plus a lake or river close-by.

{Brooding time is bewteen 12-17 days.

So if we are lucky we might be able to get some photos like this one. It is exciting and they may do three broods so we might have guests all summer!!}

Les Hirondelles à Mach 2 and Protector Birds

We have a passageway between the house and the garages it is about 120cm wide and 250cm tall at the entrance and exit. In between it rises to around five metres.

Of late entering the passageway often results in a swallow {une hirondelle I think of them in French and not English} whizzing past your head at Mach 2. Well not really Mach 2 but pretty damn quick. They fly close to your head; you can hear the wings.

The pair may be nesting in the passageway. One of them was on the ladder in the atelier yesterday afternoon, so they may be looking for a spot. Like the Red Arrows they are very acrobatic fliers and to watch them drink from the pond on the wing is a marvel. They fly ten centimetres from the surface, and they dip to sip. It is almost worth buying a new video camera just to capture it.

It is possible that these are the same ones, back from Africa, we had in residence last year.

We have been speculating that the Magpies are acting like “protector” birds just like Russel and Sheryl. Back when I was having my “conversations” on the Ashridge estate they said that they would send protectors and sure enough two crows, Russell and Sheryl, nested just above our back door.

Maybe I need to think of some names for our current corvids…