This isn't a very clear picture I'm afraid, clicking on it will enlarge it. I was sorting out some paper work and paying some bills this morning when I became aware of a sort of a commotion and bird noise outside. I looked out of the window on the upstairs landing and saw dozens of swallows looping the loop and circling round the house, chattering and tripping over each other vying for places on the upstairs window ledges. I grabbed the camera and hurried out in the garden. Trying not to get to near to the house I managed to get this shot, hand holding the camera above my head, and pointing in the general direction of the noise!
Swallows are the most delightful birds, nimble graceful and pretty. They must have been feeding on insects, resting for a moment, before circling round the house and up into the sky. Eventually the flock moved on further up the hill behind the house. It's incredible to think that in a month or two these little birds will be flying to the desert regions of Africa and beyond.
A letter came on Tuesday from The British Trust for Ornithology thanking me for taking the time to report my ringed bird. I haven't heard about the second one yet. The first one found in April (not May as I remembered) was female and ringed in Ullapool in December 08. She was one year and four months old.She had flown a distance of 7km and lived for a total of 104 days, since being ringed, before pegging out underneath the bird feeder in the garden! I understand that the British Museum is used on the ring as an address for its familiarity in other countries
Poor little siskin. She wasn't very old. I wonder why she didn't just settle in an Ullapool garden?
I wonder what the life expectancy of a siskin is. Isn't it strange how few dead birds we find unless a cat has caught one and abandoned it? How lovely to have swallows using you as a resting station. Perhaps they are already making their way south. We sometimes see swifts but not swallows.
I hadn't thought of that Lucille - maybe the swallows were already heading south. We'd had a swarm of flying ants in the garden the day before and I thought that explained their sudden interest in our garden. Swallows had been nesting in an old out building at the back of our house. They were quite amazing to watch, barely slowing down before diving in through a hole in the wall to feed their young. Siskins probably live a lot longer by avoiding our garden! By way of a change I found a dead (un-ringed) greenfinch this morning. I want to think higher numbers of birds in the garden statistically produce higher numbers of elderly or sick birds - either that or it's an nut allergy!
We occasionally have a Sparrow Hawk come by and he sometimes attacks local birds, we currently have three female blackbirds (brown) with us here in Surrey.
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