Monday, 11 May 2009

The Arrival of Summer Birds

The summer birds are now arriving. The most obvious are the swallows: this chap was preening himself on the electricity wire a yard or two from our lounge window. Yesterday I spent much of the evening watching their aerial acrobatics, as they swooped and soared over the village. They are much taken with our barn which with its open eaves offers good nesting sites.

The other day when I was scything the orchard (more of that anon) I saw a large bird of prey sweep across the neighbouring field. I could not see it perfectly and birds of prey are hard to identify in flight, but it too had an acrobatic flight style and I caught a short glimpse of a forked tail. This enabled me to identify it as a kite, not the red kite which one sees along the M40 motorway near Oxford but the black, a species that never makes it to the UK, is a summer visitor to this part of Europe. Of course the summer visitors we are all waiting for are the white storks, who build their nests on the tops of buildings and are supposed to bring good luck with them.

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