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Next Stop Africa

There hasn't seemed to be as many Swallows around this year near me so it was great to see plenty on a recent weekend visit to North Yorkshire.

The cottage where we were staying had a regular stream zipping overhead and hoovering up insects above the paddock opposite. After spending an hour failing to get any decent flight shots I decided to concentrate on the young being fed on the rooftop. The juveniles would fly with their parents for a period and then a number would decide to perch and wait to be fed.

Every time a parent flew in the whole row of young would start to screech mouths wide open awaiting a tasty insect treat. There was an almost tangible feeling of disappointment when they realised it wasn't their parent or that the parent was going to feed a sibling. Open mouths turned to grumpy pouts as the insects disappeared into another waiting mouth.

In and out the parents would come until the juveniles were full or ready to try again chasing down their own food and off they would go performing acrobatics inches above the ground. It won't be long now until they set off for the winter on the long haul to Africa. When they return we know summer isn't far off, even if it is another British summer.

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