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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Late swallows and house martins

Earlier this week I sat next to the Mere in Knutsford. Cheshire. Several swallows and house martins were seen. Most swifts have now gone south, but it was good to see so many swallows and house martins still around. There was even a nest with 3 young martins in at Little Morton Hall.

In past years I have seen house martins in the South Hams (Devon) as late as the end of October. One year there were still swallows near Salcombe, Devon as late as Dec 7th. Not living in the South Hams, I don't know how common this is i.e. this late. The return of house martins, swallows and swifts is something I welcome each year but sadly at this time of year we bid these migratory birds farewell before they fly thousands of hostile miles to lands with more plentiful insect food. With the Sahara getting bigger their migration routes are getting more and more hazardous. There seem fewer of these birds than there used to be, presumably as more die on migration.

Fare thee well little friends and see you again next spring when the cycle of life goes on, I pray. The return of these little fellows between early April to early May fills me with renewed hope and joy. I tend to have tears in my eyes when the swifts return. I pray I'll be around to see these return in the spring.
Since my stroke a year ago, these simple affirmations of the continuance of the cycle of life mean even more. I guess I am more aware of how finite our lives are.  Somehow I think Henry Williamson was right about the cycle of life.

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