A Welcome Return of the Swallow.

Notes from a Lancashire Countryman

THIS LITTLE FORKED -TAILED BIRD THAT I BEHOLD,

HAS FLOWN A MILE-FIVE THOUSAND FOLD

ACROSS BOTH LAND AND THE SEA'S TEMPESTUOUS WAVES,

TO REACH OLD ENGLAND'S PASTORAL SHADES.

WHERETHENCE, WITH SKILL, SKIMS O'ER THE TOPS

OF ENGLAND'S RIPENINGCROPS;

TO GLEAN AT WILL THE INSECT PREY,

A RUSTIC SIGHT ON A SUMMERS DAY.

THE BARN, THE RAFTERS, -A NEST BUILT HIGH,

THERE SHE WILL SIT A BROOD IS NIGH,HE-OUTSIDE IN SUNSHINE BRIGHT,

WILL WATCH,

CARE FOR HER,

DAY AND NIGHT.

WHEN BRACKEN IS RUSTY AND THE BERRIES RIPE-

THE FAMILY WILL SIT UPON THE WIRE;

I WILL SOON HAVE TO SAY GOODBYE,

AS MY FORKED-TAILED FRIENDS TAKE TO THE SKY;

SOME INSTINCT-A MYSTERY, UNTOLD,

WILL MAKE THEM FLY AGAIN,-A MILE FIVE THOUSAND FOLD;

{ my attempt at poetry}


I Iook forward with anticipation to the 16th of April that is the date that the first swallows are seen in our neighbourhood, what an uplifting sight this is to a nature lover, a sure sign that summer is nigh.It brings one great pleasure to see these masters of the air wheeling and twittering happily, this sweet little utterance that appeals to all of those who love birdland song.

In all my years I have never heard a wrong word said about this beautiful bird, indeed they are regarded with affection among bird lovers and nature lovers alike. These most welcome of visitors have endured a journey of five thousand miles to reach our shores many of them thwart with danger. They arrive just as the dense numbers of insects populate the air and these insectivorous birds do untold amounts of good ridding the air of its insect inhabitants.

If weather conditions do not suit, the bird will postpone its nesting activities until favourable conditions prevail.Then they may be seen gathering mud to cement their homes under the eaves.The nest is made of mud, straw or hay and has a profuse lining of feathers, upon which four to six eggs are laid. The eggs are white spotted or blotched with light or dark brown.

When on the wing the plumage looks dark but should one be close enough for a closer more detailed sighting it will be noticed the bird has a distinct chestnut brown forehead and throat {which may appear to be red in certain light}, it is black on the upper parts with violet reflections, dull reddish white beneath. The long forked tail is a characteristic feature of the species.



Swallow

Familiar wild birds {1800's}
Familiar wild birds {1800's}

The swallow arrives

A most welcome sight in any village photograph courtesy of Sannse
A most welcome sight in any village photograph courtesy of Sannse

A favoured haunt

During the sultry summer months I have a favoured place to observe the amazing aerial prowess of this insect devourer. The habitat I haunt on these occasions is an assemblage of hills, rough pastures, woods and more conventional quilt work of arable land.

I sit with my back to the girth of a mighty oak that stands alone at the border of a corn field made golden by the sun. I linger a while in this leafy serenity. The beauty of this place lies in its pastoral quietness. This locality, for me, has a never failing charm, an antidote to urban life. I feel for anybody that fails to see beauty's glance.

Watching the swallows hawking over the golden fields, twittering happily I admire their extraordinary endurance on the wing as they trawl the air. It is a pleasing scene I never tire of witnessing. I have often stayed until the brooding sunset clouds signed the end of the day, and soon creatures of the night will start to venture as darkness cloaks the countryside.

Books/bird Watching/binoculars

Swallow in flight

The swallow possesses amazing aerial skills. Photograph courtesy of Thermos.
The swallow possesses amazing aerial skills. Photograph courtesy of Thermos.
crops made golden by the sun. photograph courtesy of Magnus Manske
crops made golden by the sun. photograph courtesy of Magnus Manske

More by this Author


Comments 9 comments

D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 5 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

Thank you to every body who have taken the time to leave a comment on RETURN OF AN OLD FRIEND, They are appreciated.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

B, thank you yes they are beautiful birds. My attempt at poetry is not in your class. Have you been inspired do one for us. L.Best wishes.


Joy56 profile image

Joy56 6 years ago

lovely hub once more, these are truly beautiful birds.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

hypnodude, always a pleasure to hear from you. Thank you for your usual kind and appreciated comments.


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

I love them, one of my preferred birds after the robin. They are wonderful, they always remind me of a group of waiters, and they eat so many insects and flies. These days it seems that there are much less, but I hope they are wrong and that there will be many of them instead. Every year I hope they will make a nest under my roof. Great hub as usual DAL. Thumbs up. :)


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

ladyjane1, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment it is appreciated.

2uesday, glad you enjoyed the hub. If you thought of the swallow as you read the poem my effort was not in vain. Hope these birds make you smile often in future.

Darlene, Thank you. Friends like you are always welcome to share my walks. Nature is for beautiful people.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Wonderful, the swallows also return in San Jaun Capastrano in California the same time every year...I love your home and your journey...the best part is that you allow your freinds to come along with you, thank you for your thoughtful kindness in your lust for sharing nature...I too will always return.


2uesday profile image

2uesday 6 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

I agree it is a wonderful hub, I loved the poem thought it was one I had not heard before then realised it was yours. I could tell it was a swallow as I read it. Seeing these birds in the sky always makes me smile and lifts my day.

Thank you for sharing this.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

What a wonderful hub and a great attempt at poetry. Really enjoyed it. I love birds.

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