One Swallow does not a summer make…

But lots of them is really quite impressive. Especially when you can get up close.

Just went out to feed some scraps to the chickens with my daughter and saw a number of swallows tearing around the trees in the orchard and a stand of sycamore nearby. They were almost impossible to count, but I’d estimate there were at least two dozen, perhaps three. Swooping in and out of the trees catching greenfly that were feeding on the leaves.

So we quietly walked up under the sycamore and lay on the grass watching them swoop within no more than a foot or so of us. Against the sky or the solid dark background of the leaves it was possible to pick out a single insect and watch it until a swallow came close enough to see it and pick it off. As the number of insects died down we prodded the sycamore leaves with a stick and another shower of greenfly would drop from the trees for the birds to feed on.

Stunning to watch, especially with the birds flying so close to our heads.

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