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The last Swallow brood of the summer


Our swallows brought out their latest babies yesterday. I thought you might like to see them. The fluffy breasts show they are still not ready to fly off for the winter. They will linger here for a couple of weeks after the parents and older siblings stop feeding them and head off. I counted 21 swallows roosting for a rest at one point. I thought at first that it was the annual gathering before they set off south but then I spotted the babies still being fed. It was hard not to as they make a big racket as soon as they sense some food on the way. The last photo is Mai Gold climber. It has flowered well this year and it has a wonderful scent.

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Oh theyare a late brood, such a long way to go bless them x

8 Sep, 2014


We have not had this many swallows for many years. When we first came here over 40 years ago we could not count the huge numbers which congregated in the village before the migration south started. They are coming back later too nowadays. We used to have the first swallows no later than the first two weeks in April. Now it can be as late as the middle of May before we see them. I love to see the chicks on their first outing. They are brave to make the jump out of the nest as it is 9m up under the eaves. Mum always brings them out when there is a west wind so that they have a reasonable chance of finding a perch quickly.

8 Sep, 2014


Thanks for sharing your pictures Scotsgran. As you already commented on my blog - odd that they are still with you and gone here. Maybe the late brood is the reason. Although I need to rely on seeing them down at the river and over in the field, I'm not as 'close' to them as you are.
I don't get a close enough view of the babies either, so lovely to see them in your picture.
I'll show Michaela your pictures of the babies tomorrow.
As Pamg says, quite a journey for those little things.

8 Sep, 2014


Isn't it amazing that they can find their way without the parents to show them where to go? Lovely photos.

8 Sep, 2014


I often wonder about that too Steragram. I looked at the link to the RSPB and copied a little of how they do get there. I have seen that people in rural areas of Spain put up nets to catch the birds but it would hardly seem to be worthwhile if they are under nourished.

British swallows spend their winter in South Africa: they travel through western France, across the Pyrenees, down eastern Spain into Morocco, and across the Sahara. Some birds follow the west coast of Africa avoiding the Sahara, and other European swallows travel further east and down the Nile Valley. Swallows put on little weight before migrating.
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. Migrating swallows cover 200 miles a day, mainly during daylight, at speeds of 17-22 miles per hour. The maximum flight speed is 35 mph.
In their wintering areas swallows feed in small flocks, which join together to form roosting flocks of thousands of birds. Swallows arrive in the UK in April and May, returning to their wintering grounds in September and October.
Scottish our swallows usually stay until the end of September or early October.

9 Sep, 2014


I love to watch the swallows as they dive up and down for insects. The house at the back of us had two nests this year, but never got to see their babies. I love your climber. Does it flower all summer as I'm looking for a not too vigorous climber for my new arch ?

9 Sep, 2014


It's sad when they leave. I have a bird phobia, but I like to watch them swooping through the sky :)
I always feel sad after the swallows have gone ...

10 Sep, 2014


Hi Rose, this is vigorous. Up to 12' but it is an exceptionally thorny rose. I would not recommend it for an arch. David Austin recommends Crown Princess Margareta climbing, up to 8ft or The Pilgrim again 8'. Both are yellow and strongly scented with good repeat flowering all summer.
Have a look at Climbing and rambling roses section on
There are other colours if you prefer something different.
Hywel it is magical to watch them flying about with the greatest of ease. lol. I knew you had a bird phobia but I can understand your feeling of loss when they leave they do live so close to us for only a few short months.

10 Sep, 2014

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