Time to fly the nest

Joan writes:

You might recall that I commented on what I considered to be the ‘earlier than usual’ arrival of swallows to our garden in the middle of April.

Time has flown past with Mum and Dad Swallow having shipped out their first brood and this week seeing the fleeing of the nest of their second. I made it my mission to try and witness their chicks’ first wobbles, but also to shoo the cat, who was also very aware of the upcoming activity.

I am no photographer. And I have the evidence to this claim! But I was impressed by my ability to balance on a shoogly ladder to capture the second image!

4 swallow chicks on their practice ledge along from their nest
Swallow Chicks Close Up

So taken by my efforts, I kept my phone (camera) on me for the rest of the day. I must have known that another encounter was going to present itself later that evening.

I was heading out to lock my chooks up for the night, when something caught my eye flying low over the field. Towards me.

Despite being camera ready, I was not operator ready. As I fumbled around with passcode, select camera, select video mode, the most splendid barn owl swooped no more than 2 metres above me. Her (she was too beautiful to be a he!) eyes were as one as she looked down on me, and I’m sure she came as close as she dared just to show off her elegance and good looks. And her trophy.

Look away now if you don’t like what can be considered the cruel side of nature. In her talons, she carried her supper in the form of a rabbit. I’m not fond of witnessing this side of Mother Nature, but I am accepting of it.

What an incredible sight. For all my (many) years living in the countryside, I have never had such a close up first-hand experience. And I failed miserably to capture it on camera. To share a little of what I encountered, I found this image courtesy of a more proficient photographer!

“Hamerton Zoo-1127” by Laura Ngo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

My neighbour is exceptionally fond of wildlife and of birds in particular so I was keen to share my experience with her. As I regaled my barn owl tale at the garden wall, her bird feeders were being bombarded by every colour of garden bird imaginable. A feast for them, but a feast also for my eyes. Carol (my neighbour) is far more proficient with her camera and offered me a selection of her images which I am delighted to share with you now. Enjoy some sights of our lesser-spotted (to the eye anyway!) garden birds captured by Carol in her garden.

I’m sure you’ll agree, the images of Carol’s garden visitors are worthy of this public showing! Please do share any photos or tales of garden visitors you might have.

I’m off to stake out Carol’s bird feeders in an attempt to improve on my camera technique!

Happy Gardening. Joan

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