Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that we had a swallow’s nest in the back porch with four little swallow babies who have now fledged and are fending for themselves. I kept a diary of the activities of our swallow family which I thought you might like to read (and see my photos of the delicious little ones). Swallows are my favourite birds, so it was such a delight to have welcome them into our back porch!
Sunday 27th May
We’ve been in Italy for a week at a wedding and have returned to some fresh swallow poo underneath the old nest in the back porch. It was occupied three summers ago but not since so it is lovely to see them back. I hope they aren’t put off their new home now the humans and dog are here.
Saturday 2nd June
The swallows have taken advantage of yesterday’s torrential rain by collecting mud to refurbish the old nest. It’s looking a little less dowdy and shambolic now. Apparently there have been instances of the same old nests being reused by swallows for over 50 years.
Thursday 5th June
Witnessed two swallows doing some humping on the telegraph wires outside the kitchen window while I was eating my breakfast this morning. It looks precarious trying to do the deed on a high wire. I wonder if that was the moment of magic for our nesters.
Thursday 21st June
We have chicks! There’s a little bit of squeaking and lots of feeding activity. Ross spotted one of the adults removing waste from the nest.
Friday 22nd June
Hungry faces poking out just above the rim of the nest – three in total, we think. One of them stuck it’s bottom out to poop over the edge of the nest. They are house trained already!
Saturday 23rd June
The chick-count has risen: there are definitely four hopeful little faces with gaping yellow beaks. Their eyes are still closed and they seem unaware of us watching them through the kitchen door. Both parents are working very hard.
Monday 25th June
Last night the parents were both sat out on the wires after 9pm; soaking up the golden evening sunlight and preening their feathers. I liked to imagine it was a weary but companionable quiet time.
Tuesday 26th June
We’re in the midst of a heat-wave. It’s 26 degrees celsius today. I’m worried it’s too hot for my fluffing darlings. They’ve been awfully quiet all day. This afternoon the mum had a long sit in the shade on the open half of the kitchen door. I was working in the kitchen but she didn’t seem to mind. She sat and preened herself for ten minutes before returning to the task of feeding the chicks. I’d like to be able to help out but I’m not very good at catching flies.
Monday 2nd July
We’re home from a weekend away in the Lake District. I can’t believe how much the swallow babies have grown in three days! They now have a reddish colouring around their beaks, much more shapely black feathers, much less fluff, and shiny beady eyes. All seems to be well despite the ongoing heat. I had missed them a little bit when I was away. I’ve got quite accustomed to the swallow babies in the back porch.
My baby darlings are having to top & tail to fit into the nest. They are so big!
Wednesday 4th July
At breakfast-time, Ross spotted a burst of flight from a slightly chubby, slightly wobbly little swallow. It had a little rest on the shed roof then returned to the nest. That’s the first of them having a test flight! A big day for our swallow babies.
I did waste quite a lot of time throughout the day watching them to and fro from the nest. They would teeter on the edge of the nest, shouting to their parents for reassurance, then either chicken out and return to safety or take the dive and stretch their wings. Sometimes there were two out and two in, other times three out and one anxious face left behind. Oftentimes, all four were back in.
I saw the adult swallows dive-bombing the neighbour’s cats. It’s obviously a tense day for all involved.
Thursday 5th July
Much more time spent out the nest today. Lots of playful flight and awkward landings. The babies are slightly more confident, only occasionally returning to the nest. I suppose they are practising all the skills they need to fend for themselves.
Friday 6th July
A totally empty nest. All that’s left of our swallows-in-the-back-porch is a pile of poop. Goodbye my fluffy darlings! I can’t believe that in two months time you’ll fly to Africa. It’s been a privilege to host you in our porch.