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A summer without swallows

Published on 8/08/2018

  • A summer without swallows
Swallows nest, Tolquhon — Summer 2017


THESE WONDERFUL WARM languid summer days have made the garden a joy to be in but alas it has been tinged with more than a little sadness as an important aerial element has been missing. 

The thrilling darting flight of sometimes eighty or more swallows hoovering up every conceivable insect that dares to take to the air is usually constant; with hungry broods to feed, their toil is incessant. 


Swallow on Wire by Lucy Newton

Swallow on Wire  watercolour  LUCY NEWTON


What has gone wrong? For the 34 years we have been at Tolquhon, swallows have nested every summer in our garage. The tarry mess of their droppings is immediately forgiven as we witness their sheer virtuoso aerobatics, that gorgeous fantailed flight of black blue red-throated scimitar winged exuberance. 

I just could not understand the empty garage — no nests, no chicks, no swallows — and then it dawned on me. No rain, no puddles, no mud; no nesting material means no nest. Poor swallows.

I hope future years are kind and future generations thrive. A summer without swallows is no summer at all.


Blog by Danny Ross



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