I tweeted today that I was going to go out and look for swallows, and so I did.
My legs were a bit sore, and the afternoon was getting on, so I took to my bicycle and rode out the Hawton Farndon route. A kestrel rode the breeze expertly below me as I went over the bypass flyover, chestnut back and wings curved to motionless perfection.
It was as I came down the other side of the flyover that I saw them, a couple of swallows heading towards me out of Farndon village. From my bicycle I actually gave another cheer, like the one I did for the first brimstone the other day. Their flight, low, rapid, slightly undulating, is unmistakeable; the bird spending most of the time like a sleek aerial torpedo, in between wing beats.
I'm surprised the air doesn't screech as they fly through it.
Along the river, I saw no butterflies or any early dragonflies, but the black swan was still with his mute chums on the farmers land this time.
And then, I saw more swallows above the private stetch of river bank, where I also stopped to watch some small birds flitting in the trees that I wondered might be willow warblers.
To finish the day off, as I left my flat later on, I noticed a bird I initially took to be a pigeon, until I saw the raptor beak and thinner body. Judging by the grey colour, and streaked pale underside, my guess was sparrrowhawk, but whatever it was, it wasn't something I'm used to seeing in my garden.