I am sitting at the top of the house staring out of the window, waiting for the swifts to come back. They seem to return every forty minutes or so, scream around the houses and through the ravines and valleys between them before racing off again to hunt insects.
I see swifts up at Waterswallows first thing in the morning. Apparently, there are more insects at the margins of bodies of water than there are over land. The pickings must be good as they are joined by swallows and sand martins.
Last year the swifts nested in the holes in the roof of the houses opposite, but this year although I have seen a few attempts to nest, they don’t appear to be successful.
Seeing them in the morning, first thing always gives me a lift. Swifts are such fantastic animals, keeping aloft for so long without coming into land, they seem at times to be flying for the sheer pleasure of it.
As well as the swifts, I have been watching several pairs of Lapwings that have been attempting to raise young in the fields around the old quarry.
It is a daily struggle for them, there are not enough nesting pairs to provide the necessary levels of protection and I thought that they had lost the fight, but yesterday there were four adults in one of the fields next to the quarry. They were defending their territory, though the crows that they were mobbing were just standing amongst the short cropped grass, close by, but seemingly not interested in the Lapwings.
The Lapwings were there today. This time after watching them for ten minutes I noticed at least one small chick, well the head just bobbing above the grasses.
It struck me as strange that there were four Lapwings though. Assuming that that only one of the two pairs had chicks then it seemed as if the others were ‘helping’ with the defence and protection duties.
Hopefully, things will become clearer over the next few days. But for now, the swifts have just come racing back. and I have things to do.