I'm always waiting in anticipation at this time of year for the arrival of the swallows. The house and sand martins have been here for a good few weeks, darting around in the sky. I checked the diary from last year, they had arrived on 2nd of May, a year ago today. We were getting ready to go to the local farmers market on Saturday when I spotted the arrival of the our first swallow, sat on the telephone line chattering away. Such a fantastic sight, and a feeling that summer is just around the corner. We have the remains of a few nests in the eves of the stables but since we've lived here none have ever nested there. Maybe this year we'll be lucky enough to have them as guests over the summer.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
This stretch of superb weather has brought the garden and local wildlife on in leaps and bounds, lets just hope that our summer hasn't arrived early and this is it for the next few weeks. Ever the optimist, I'm hopeful that we'll have a long, balmy summer, stretching through to September, how fabulous would that be.......
The warm weather has been kind to all the young birds that we have too, the feeders are constantly covered in tits and finches, we even get regular visits from the woodpecker. We have a couple of blackbirds and a thrush constantly bobbing around on the lawn hunting for worms so they must have nests close by in the hedgerows.
While in the workshop yesterday morning fishing out some screws to go with a pinboard order, I could hear the constant tweeting of what sounded like a young bird, I assumed it had maybe fallen out of it's nest, so I went to investigate. To my delight, I found a mother dipper flying back and forth to her young fledgling perched on a stone in the middle of our burn. It slowly followed her down the burn, carefully flying from one stone to the next. She kept returning with beakfulls of food for it. Our ducks were quite intrigued and followed them all the way down the burn! I heard it again in the afternoon and amazingly managed to get some really close up pictures of the baby, looking very fat and fluffy!
On the domestic fowl front we are getting very close to hatching day with our french cuckoo maran, hopefully this Sunday or Monday we'll be hearing little cheeps of chicks from underneath her, I'm so excited. A hen takes around 21 days to incubate fertile eggs, believe me it's been the longest 3 weeks ever!
After our disastrous attempt at moving our little duck and her nest, we managed to find the other nest with 11 eggs in it, tucked underneath a tuft of grass in our neighbours garden! I took advice and moved the eggs into a little coop and have sat one of our broody bantams on them. Duck eggs takes around 28 days to incubate, so we'll be at the halfway mark this Friday. Fingers and toes crossed that they hatch, I'm so looking forward to playing surrogate mummy this summer.