DO FIVE SWALLOWS MAKE A SUMMER?


We saw the first few swallows of summer here in Dorset yesterday. Two singletons and a group of three. Their arrival is about a week earlier than usual. One swallow may not make a summer (though it works for eating an oyster), but since there were five of them, I reckon early summer is here.

swallow-dorset-9

Advertisements

SPRING IN THE AIR IN DORSET THIS WEEK


The sun is shining, the birds are twitterpating (©Disney), the trout season has opened. Also, the first swallows arrived on Tuesday, followed by the martins on Wednesday. These birds are already checking out the mud nests under the eaves that remain from last year.Martins' Nest Totnell 4.14

The hedges are suddenly greening up and the grass is beginning to grow fast. The Alpacas, formerly the official lawnmowers for the paddock, have been banished to another field to give the ground a rest. That means resorting to the mechanical method for the first cut of the year.Alpaca Totnell 4.14Paddock Totnell 2014

Some creatures appear to have got Spring fever. The rabbits for a start, who are clearly ‘going at it’ for all they are worth. And the sheep over the road surprised me one evening when I opened the kitchen door (the notice on the gate is good for their self-esteem). Sheep climbing bales Totnell 14

My first fishing of the season yesterday, on the River Piddle (as in Tolpuddle) – very pretty, pretty unproductive…  Today on the River Frome, the swallows were skimming insects off the surface of the water. There were heron and egrets, and a pair of common sandpipers clearly looking for a suitable nesting site. It’s been a great Spring week.Piddle 1 Dorset 4.14 Piddle 2 Dorset 4.14 Piddle 3 Dorset 4.14

The moon and stars have been wonderful all week. There have been plenty of moon photos around, pink or otherwise, but one evening Mars was gleaming brightly too. Only one shot was steady enough to use – at maximum zoom most of the images looked like squiggles.

Full Moon Totnell 14Mars Totnell 14

THE FIRST SWALLOW OF SUMMER & OTHER SPRING BIRDS


THE FIRST SWALLOW OF SUMMER

THE FIRST SWALLOW TO ARRIVE AT OUR HOUSE IN DORSET, APRIL 27 A handful of swallows arrived from Africa on the first day of sunshine for weeks, preened for a while on the wires, then flew round the garden after insects. The next two days have been heavy rain, and they haven’t shown again… We saw the last ones leave last Autumn, so it’s good to have seen them come back. 

PIED WAGTAIL PICKING ITS WAY DELICATELY ALONG THE ROOF RIDGE

GOLDFINCH IN A WEEPING ASH

BLACKBIRD’S NEST

The chicks fledged and flew during the past week, and we missed it… suddenly the nest was empty