When the weather is calm and warm, house martins and swifts form a collective swirl above our house. This can include the 15-20 birds that breed on our house, not to mention the swell in numbers when the non-breeding swifts visit. I like to think that it enhances other people’s lives as they wander along our road or see swifts screaming overhead from the Fairfax Arms beer garden!
I have provided some basic information on a sign by our gate so people can read about these birds. It includes a a basic identification chart- hand painted in watercolour of course! I am delighted to say many people stop to read it and take leaflets on swifts and house martins from a holder on our gate. It is perhaps particularly effective because they see the results in front of them as house martins and swifts come and go.
Yesterday evening it was a bit warm, the sort of evening you put on a jumper on at a BBQ! But my older son and I were sat out enjoying a beer and just taking in the scene. Honeysuckle and apple became silhouetted against a glorious twilight sky with breaking, dark Payne’s Grey cloud. We stood on our very solid picnic table and experienced full velocity flypasts within a few centimetres of our faces. Feeling and hearing the air being sliced by those sharp, stiff primary feathers.
As the light faded we suddenly became aware of another face just below the eaves. Tolly whose bedtime was long gone was enjoying the swift action(as well as eaves dropping our conversation!) from the landing window. We must be doing something right!
All text and images copyright Jonathan Pomroy 2022