Sadly it's goodbye to the swallows in the stables for this year. Following a mass gathering on the telephone wires in Shelley Drive on 6 September, all was quiet in the stables and skies at the farm and we realised they had left us. (Perhaps they were taking advantage of the fine weather to cross the Channel.)
Their departure is very early this year compared to previous years but I have seen that this is not an indicator of what sort of winter lies ahead.
It's always a privilege to see them arrive and watch at such close quarters their activities during their time here. From nest building, the hatching and development of their chicks through to fledging, not to mention their aerial acrobatics. I am pleased to say there is quite an increase in youngsters going to Africa from Parsonage Farm this year. Last year we only had two nests and one brood from each. This year we had four nests and two broods! A total of approximately 36 swallows. We wish them a safe journey and look forward to their return in 2024. Also thank them for the pleasure and entertainment they have given us during their stay here.
Ed: Many thanks to Janet for providing such an informative and interesting narrative throughout this spring and summer. All her articles have been grouped together on this webpage:
* According to the RSPB website, swallows can survive for up to 16 years. So it's possible that the swallows pictured, returned in 2023. If anyone has a photo of le depart 2023 from Shelley Drive, please send it to the website. Ed.