I had to go into Marlborough today and the rain stopped just long enough on the way home to stop and photograph some of my favourite cottages and fields. I was attracted to a Kestrel, hovering by a country lane, but it spooked so no photos of him to share! I was watching the Rooks, like naughty teenagers skating on the wind over a bright field of yellow rape when out of the corner of my eye I caught the sightest glimpse of the bouncing flight of a familar graceful friend.
My heart lept with expectation - could it really be? Was it possible, even in these storms, my brave little friends have made the epic journey from South Africa? I held my breath and crept a little closer. My camera is nothing special, no big lens, so I could only hope I was near enough to be able to tell. And I am as blind as a Bat, so I had to rely on poor eyesight and an inadequate lens. YES! There it was, the deepest midnight blue, the black of the Raven's wing and best of all the blood red markings under the chin, the forked tail, and the soft white. A Swallow, all on it's own perched on a fence. Well, that is other than the Quail who was sneaking in and out of the plants underneath him.
Swallows, House Martins and Swifts always seem to me to fly with the greatest joy, the Swifts shrieking with excitement, the Swallows and House Martins leaping into the breeze with glee, riding it ever so high and then down so low. This one, though on it's own, was chirping loudly and after allowing me a few moments of joy it was gone as quickly as it had come. Alas my camera is not swift enough to catch it on the wing but thankfully my eye was.
What they actually look like through a better lens or eye than mine!
By Molly Brett, the Fairy artist from Surrey.
This field was full of wildlife, I spotted Rabbits, Quail, Pheasants, Crows, and Rooks. And my magnificent Swallow. For a few minutes the sun shone, no rainbow but I did not care. Bliss!
I always await their arrival every year and their departure at the end of summer fills me with sorrow. Even though I am a Winter person I think that when I leave this world of which I am much fond I'd prefer to do so while the Swifts, Swallows and House Martins are on the wing in my village fields. I could not bear to think that I was leaving without having seen them one last time.
The Flight of the Swallows by JH Lorimer.
This is a favourite oil painting of mine. I love the quiet symbolism of it. The shadows against the warm glow of the light, all the pale and golden tones and the blue sky outside the window. I find it quite poignant and understood at once the feeling of the scene. It was set in Kellie Castle in Fife. It is showing the elegant interior of an Edwardian household. A mother kneels on a window cushion as she and her three children look out the window. The sun seems to be setting as the room and the sky are lit with a warm glow. One of the children is seen sitting with her face in her hands, as if crying over the loss of summer. The other two children stand with their mother waving goodbye to the swallows.
I hope that soon the House Martins who nest on our cottage will be back as well. It's raining again, quite hard, and I worry for all the small creatures, and the large ones too.