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So long swallows too soon

September 23, 2013
Barn swallow - image from Wikipedia

Barn swallow – image from Wikipedia

Turns out I was wrong about the supply of barn swallows and house martins in a post last week. I had thought we’d exhausted this year’s batch and with it the warmer days of summer.After some significant amount of walking about after calves, I managed to get all the herd into our field called ‘Wassledine’. They had been rather keen to get in there and less than impressed by the supply of grass in the two fields they had been occupying for the last week or so. I unwisely told Jane that the electric fence battery was fully charged. She spent ages trying to make it work. Charged overnight I got the thing sorted quickly, but it turned out that there was a short-circuit which had drained the charge and I only spotted that after buying a new one. Ahhh! So now we have a spare.I love moving cattle into a new field. Sounds like a small thing and I suppose it is but their enthusiasm for new turf and enjoyment of access to fresh grass is almost infectious, especially when their desires coincide with yours.

We’ve spent a lot of time out with cattle over the last few days – several visits from the vet forced unplanned hanging about which saps time and relegates other tasks to the ‘later’ list. One positive of all this standing about, holding syringes, persuading unwilling beasts into the crush and whispering what might be calming words into animals’ ears, has been that I’ve seen lots of swallows. Most have been feeding, flying low and determined through the fields. These may be one group circulating, but I suspect rather that they have been a succession of small groups passing on their long journey to southern Africa. Occasionally I’ve felt a twinge of envy at their avoidance of our northern winter, but in reality the next few months will be dangerous ones for them and really I wouldn’t be much use crossing the Sahara under my own steam.

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