Monday, 26 July 2010

Our Swallows

Swallow eggshell after hatching
4 c.week-old Swallow chicks (can just see beak of one on right)
One on left not looking too healthy here!
Swallow chicks - just 10 days after previous pic
The first escapee
The same day, but this sibling prefers the shed!
The following day - 2 decide to guard my car!
A clumsy youngster lands on a wheelie bin, and a parent comes to check
Now parent watches, whilst clumsy younster (male?) attempts to fly up the shed wall
23rd July - this youngster on the shed roof allowed me to approach very close
In the week of the May half-term I went away for a few days to Worcestershire. Apparently, I'd only been gone a couple of hours when a pair of Swallows began to go under the shed where my car is parked. By the time I arrived back, less than a week later, the nest had almost been completed. We left some spare soil in an overturned dustbin lid, which we moistened, and it was this which the Swallows used to finish off their nest. I've had to cover my car with 2 sheets, as their nest is directly above my vehicle. It's a good job I did because the amount of filth they excreted over that month-long period takes some believing!
Now, we did have a pair of Swallows nesting in 2 consecutive years in the late 1980s, but we've never seen them since. I can only think that these Swallows returned to their usual nesting site as normal this year, but had to give up the attempt because it was so dry & they were unable to construct a nest without a convenient supply of mud. The Humber is only a few hundred yards from us, and this is probably what originally attracted the Swallows to the area, plus a suitable open-fronted building for them.
The first eggshell appeared on 29th June, so this is probably the day the first chicks hatched, but only one complete eggshell was found - half of which heads up this post. The 2nd & 3rd photos show how the chicks looked when they were nearly a fortnight old on 10th July. It was shortly after this that unfortunately one of the chicks fell out of the nest - it was latter entombed in Swallow dung!
2 chicks shown in the above pictures look almost ready for fledging on 19th July, but the first one wasn't spotted outside until the 21st, when it was seen perched on the wires of the prison floodlights. Meanwhile, the same day another was perched on the shelf next to my car, preventing me from going out that day - I didn't want to disturb it, because if it flew out into Hedon Road that would be the end of it! One was later seen trying to perch on the rear sloping roof of the rotting Allegro, but it slid right down & perched on a wheelie bin instead. It later tried to fly up the shed wall. For a young bird it had fairly long tail streamers, so it may be a male! The final image is of a confiding youngster perched on the shed roof, which allowed me to approach very close for the photograph. The Swallows have continued to roost in their nest every night since they fledged, but it's almost a week now, so we don't expect to see them much longer. In a way I'm hoping they don't decide to have a 2nd brood, because the sheets over the car really need a very good clean!

No comments: