Monday, 3 October 2011

Goers and Comers.

In the barn, the last of this year's swallows have taken the opportunity of stretching and exercising their wings in the spell of warm weather last week. Some of our swallows have had three broods and the last young are almost ready to fly on that amazing journey which starts here on the farm and ends in Africa. The mystery of how they find their way is one of the world's great unsolved ones. I just wish I could tell them in some way to avoid Malta, where they will be shot at unmercifully. They share the barn with Tip, our old sheepdog, and I think he probably misses them when they go as they are a bit of company for him.

As they go then the winter visitors begin to arrive. Friends G and J saw redwings at the coast (and I believe some in G's garden) last week. This is very early. When I mentioned this to the farmer he said he thought he had heard some last week and had looked up to see that identifying swooping flight and a small flock passed overhead. Whether they were fieldfares or redwings he couldn't say, but it looks as though they are already beginning to arrive.

There are plenty of berries for them to eat but it always troubles me that they seem to eat them early giving no thought to the possibility of a hard winter and no food. Don't you find it odd that birds can fly to the other side of the world, and return next year to the same barn that they were born in, and yet they don't have enough sense to leave the berries and look for other available food?

It has been windy today and here on the farm the pine needles have been falling thick and fast. I had friends for a cup of tea this afternoon so I swept up the pine needles before they came. I need not have bothered as they were just as thick by the time they came. When the farmer opened the back door to come in for his lunch the wind blew a cloud of rowan leaves in with him - and this all of half an hour after my weekly cleaner had left.

Tomorrow Tess goes for a shampoo and haircut so it is a busy morning - luckily the supermarket is en route so I can call there as well. Visitors come to stay on Wednesday - so it is all go this week.

Any of you who remember Derrick of Melrose Musings (he stopped his blog about a year ago) will be interested to hear that I have been in touch with him as last year he was my partner at Willow's annual cyber ball. He has agreed to be my cyber partner again this year and has packed his tuxedo as he will be away on holiday. If you want to attend the ball go to Willow's site. You can choose whoever you like to be your partneer Fred Astaire, George Clooney, even your own better half - after all anything is possible in cyberland. When my son comes I will get him to put willow's poster and link on my blog. I have tried repeatedly to do it, but it is beyond me. Have a nice evening.

14 comments:

MorningAJ said...

I remember when I had a home that had swallows every year. I miss that.

angryparsnip said...

When I lived in San Juan Capistrano we always had Swallows that came back. Because builders destroyed the Orange Groves and built home the birds would nest in the eves. People put spikes up so that the nests couldn't be built or knock them down. They were messy but I let them build... they were there first before me.
Why does Malta shoot the birds ? I read that a lot of birds have been lost because of the French killing them besides too many cats being let outside to kill them.
Seems really a shame. Birds are so good for the land.

cheers, parsnip

Elizabeth said...

Maybe your swallows went via Marrakesh.
We used to sit on the roof and watch the swallows or swifts which flew around eating mosquitos before the bats came out.
Loved watching the dusk fall.
I know how to post Willow's poster but would have to tell you via email.

Heather said...

Does the early arrival of Redwings herald another harsh winter I wonder? Maybe the birds prefer their berries fresh so eat them as soon as they are ripe and hope to find other food later on in the season.
I opened the french doors because of the heat again today and found the living room carpet covered in yellow clematis petals. At least they are easily picked up.

Loren said...

Funny, I've been thinking how wise it is for birds to leave an area so that the food supply can expand for when they come back.

I don't think many animals really think much beyond the moment, though.

Thinking about the future, and the past, may be precisely what sets people apart fromt the rest of the animals.

Ironic, then that we work so hard to try to stay in the moment rather than constantly worrying about those things we can't really control, particularly the past.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Don't worry about your Redwings. When they've devoured all your berries they simply come further south for fresh supplies. Didn't my mother used to sing a song, angryparsnip, about swallows coming back to Capistrano?

Titus said...

I love your reflection on the birds! Yes, save some for later. Ah Weaver, they can't. Birdbrains!

And see you at the Ball.

Tom Stephenson said...

Goers, Comers and swallows - what a way to spend the autumn. Lovely.

Von said...

Our swallows have arrived, same day every year after a journey from the Torres Straight Islands and Queensland.My daughter and her partner had problems moving into their new home as the swallows had built their nest above the back door in a very awkward place for humans.The humans have been very accomodating so we hope all will be well.

angryparsnip said...

@John "By Stargoose And Hanglands"
Yes there is a song "When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano"
The story goes the Swallows come back to the Mission on St. Joseph's Day March 19 and leave on St. John's Day October 23.
By the time I moved away from California not many Swallows were coming back. Too much building of ugly track homes, big box stores and parking lots.

Hildred and Charles said...

I miss the swallows we used to have in the barn, on the farm - they don't seem to be town birds as I never see them hear, swooping in lovely flocks. I can't help you with your poster link, but did spend a wonderful hour listening to your son's appealing music, last evening, Pat. Would love to be there in person but had to rely on YouTube

Bovey Belle said...

I think our swallows had three broods too as they were here early and stayed late. When we were in the New Forest last week masses of migrating Swallows and House Martins were swooping low over the bracken, feeding on the wing . . .

Crafty Green Poet said...

It'snice that Tip enjoys the swallows company....

I find it astonishing that birds can migrate so well. It is odd though as you say that they don't seem to have the same kind of sense when it comes to berries...

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely to hear that you all have experiences, or memories of swallows. It seems to me that they are a most iconic bird - could be because they herals the onset of Summer I suppose. Thank you for contributing to the debate.