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Showing posts from May, 2012

Red-rumped Swallows return

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When we first moved into our house El Recuerdo, there was an old Red-rumped Swallow's nest in the porch close to the kitchen door. The following year a pair nested in an old pigsty but since then nothing. Our neighbour has a pair nesting in his garage, as well as several pairs of Barn Swallow, but for many years, swallows of both species (as well as House Martins) would use our house to sunbathe on and our trees as places to seek shade - but with none nesting. So it was a thrill last year to have two pairs of Barn Swallows nesting on our property and this year one of those two nests has been repaired and occupied again. I admit to a special fondness to hirundines. As a small boy, I decided that House Martins were my favourite bird and whilst sharing my name with them was surely one of the reasons for my decision, I also loved to watch them in the skies above our village. There was an old half-timbered pub down the road with a grand House Martin colony and they struck me as cheerf…

A Quail and other tales

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It is one of those birds that are quite widespread here, but hardly ever seen. Although this year, like many of our summer visitors, they seemed rather slow in arriving in strength, one can now hear Quail calling on almost any visit to the plains, especially if one is beside a growing cereal field. The call, usually rendered as "wet-my-lips" immediately gets one looking across the crop in a vain hope that the bird may be in view. If it is close enough, a short, soft double-noted nasal call can also be heard.  It can be very difficult  judging how close the bird is or in which direction the sound is coming from. And since the Quail is no bigger than a Skylark and will be calling from tall vegetation, the chances of seeing one calling are slim indeed. When I do see Quail, and this is very rarely, it is usually because I have been lucky enough to spot one on the track ahead of me, as sometimes they come out into the open to gather grit. Although they are mainly summer visitors…