Well, it was a good job I checked out the baby swallows yesterday. This morning, I noticed a swallow sitting on a beam, even though there were 2 flying in and out of the poolhouse. I tiptoed down to see, and there were 2 babies on the beams, and 2 still in the nest.
Ed and I spent a lovely morning watching them. Play stopped work! As the adults went in and out, there were also other swallows encouraging them out. Then, I spotted one of the babies fly from one beam to another. After a few minutes, it flew back again. There was lots of encouragement from the adults, and finally, first one, then another flew into the great outdoors. Much to our delight, the first place they chose, to get over the shock, was the satellite dish on the side of the house. This meant that we could simply sit in our chairs on the terrace, and watch them. They sat and preened and demanded to be fed while the adults tried their best to get the other 2 out of the nest. Finally, number 3 came out. He too landed on the dish.
It was a bit like living in the Hitchcock movie “The Birds” as we were surrounded by swallows. Some were calling the last baby, some were feeding the new fledglings, and others were just protecting the new family. It was lovely to watch. At one point, there were 7 adults and 3 babies. It is a little hard to tell, but the babies in the photos have wide, white beaks (to encourage feeding) and shorter tails. They are also still a little fluffy.
As I write this, the 4th baby is still in the nest, but perched on the edge. We suspect it may stay there until this evening, as it is now so hot, all manic activity is put on hold. I feel quite honoured to have been able to watch these events so closely. I hope they stay for a day or two, before flying off for good.