Thursday, April 21, 2011

The bad, the good and the ugly.

A lone swallow was spotted yesterday morning sitting on the telegraph wires which cross the lane at the front of the barn. It was the first I'd seen up here and my impatience at the absence of this harbinger of spring was growing. It sat and preened while I watched, content now - if there is one there will be others.

I think later in the day a couple more were seen swooping down the dingle.

Much later a single swallow was found in Chester's bed. Dead. We surmise that it had flown in through the open stable door in the dusk, swooped low and into the maw of the damn dog. I guess he was only doing what any hunting dog does - it's in his job description. It was not harmed in any way, just a little sucked so perhaps the poor scrap died of fright.

I was indescribably saddened by this; all those miles from Africa, 'cross continents and oceans to die on reaching home. Damn your eyes and teeth Chester.

But there is better news:

The Trelystan orchid stands loud and proud. We have counted 4 plants but hope we will spot more amongst the grass in days to come. There's no reason why they shouldn't have survived the winter although I did wonder if they would be buried by the sludge and muck thrown to one side by the various people clearing the lane of snow in December. Now they only need to escape the predations of the various naughty lambs which persist in getting out of whichever field they are in. I don't think Powys Highways gang and the big scary mower will be around until later in the year.
The eggs in the nest in the previous post have hatched - and just when we were thinking that Mrs Bird had deserted the nest. This picture taken yesterday lunchtime shows two babes. This afternoon there are four chicks - so ugly that only their mother could love them. Horrid bulgy eyes. Eugh! How secretive the whole process has been - all the more incredible because the nest is in such a conspicuous place. The hunting dog has not however sniffed it out. Yet.

I would say the good outweighs the bad (I'm an incurable optimist).  I have my eyes peeled for more swallows and the stable door is now shut. All will be well.

17 comments:

Cro Magnon said...

No swallows here yet, but swathes of orchids.

I was going to post a piece about a redstart who'd nested in my tower, but I think they've abandoned; too much mowing noise!

mountainear said...

Swathes of orchids. Sigh of envy. Redstarts. Almost. Our fingers are crossed.

Preseli Mags said...

Perhaps the swallow was already dead, exhausted from his long trip. I doubt it but I hate to see a Chester convicted on (admittedly compelling) circumstantial evidence. Perhaps he was trying to give it CPR?

Our swallows are back - I must check to see how the orchids are doing.

elizabethm said...

Love the orchid. Perfect. I am sorry about the swallow. I found a dead one a couple of years ago. It was incredibly beautiful and I was taken aback by how saddened I was. Ours are back, at least they are flying around, but I am not totally sure they have nested in the pigsty this year. do hope so.

tattina said...

Life as it is :)
Chester mustn't be blamed.

Fred said...

Nothing gladdens the heart more than sighting the first swallow of the season. More so this year after what seems to have been a very long, dreary winter.

Wipso said...

I love seeing the first swallow of the year...as long as it isn't dead in the dogs bed!
A x

Frances said...

Let me applaud your optomism. It's a good way to greet the possibilities that life offers us, day after day.

(Hard to keep this thought on darker days.)

xo

Kirsty.a said...

Thanks for your optimistic view of teh natural world

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Every year the loveliness of these weeks surprises me again. Such a clear early morning light.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

saw four swallows down in the valley last week - havent spotted any up here yet. I cant bear it when the cats catch robins - i know its natural and all that but is it really really necessary?

Fennie said...

No swallows here yet and in any case we get very few. No it is mostly Martins around here. Why? Your bird might have been concussed poor thing and then the dog finished him off. Gives new meaning to the 'better to travel hopefully....' saying.

Only orchids here are house trained ones and almost dead. What do you do with them? I don't like throwing plants out - even useless and comatose ones.

GeraniumCat said...

So sad about the swallow, but there is something wonderfully celebratory about an orchid, isn't there?

Tattie Weasle said...

No swallows or orchids but I did hear a Cuckoo the other day. I haven't hears one in years it was heavenly!

Bluestocking Mum said...

Amazing that you have orchids.

Hopefully by now you should have a few more swallows. Naughty Chester.

Great to see you and catch up last week. I have missed our get togethers.

xx

rachel said...

Nature - red in tooth and claw. WIth added dog breath. Awful.

Pondside said...

No swallows here yet - but the ducks are nesting and I have counted 13 eggs in one nest. I see a trip to the poultry sale in my future!