Tuesday 26 August 2014

From Hawton to Cotham, Hirundids!

On the face of it, this is a very undistinguished little stretch of road, about a mile long, farmer's fields and the nasty drag over the A46 flyover. I've run and cycled along it many times, and sometimes there is interesting stuff to see, and sometimes there isn't.

Yesterday was one of the interesting days.

As I turned off onto the road just before Hawton church, past disinterested woodpigeons and always worried a careless car might take me out, I noticed a fair old commotion taking place over the River Devon bridge. As I got nearer I could see some little birds swooping about, a lot of little birds swooping about. Looking at the streamer-less tails I thought they were house martins, but as I reached the bridge, I got glimpses of flashes of red amongst the plumage as they wheeled among the trees.

They were immature swallows.

But there were house martins there too, I saw white rumps glint against the backdrop of foliage. And adult swallows, tails like the feathered pitchfork of an avian devil, spreading in the wind as they executed aerial turns on a sixpence. There must have been rich pickings above the river, as there were about 30 birds in this mixed flock, flying under the bridge, swooping past my delighted face.

Not just here too, another mixed flock of birds was in action above the drainage dyke further down the road. Then at the flyover, a flock of house martins patrolled a copse, heading south into a blustery wind.

The hirundids were out in force.

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