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The swallows have returned and the dogs are chuffed

We see a lot of bird life up here.  Some of it welcome, some not.  At the moment we have hooded crows nesting in our chimney.  Luckily it’s not one we use.  They return annually and we can hear them chatting to each other in there.  It’s quite amusing when the babies emerge to take their first wobbly flights from the roof.  However, they can be a real pest.  We’ve seen them be-head a full-grown chicken.

The sparrows are a bit of a nuisance as they insist on eating all the blackcurrants.  You can always tell when they reach the perfect ripeness as the birds will gobble them up.

Sometimes when we open the doors to light the wood burner, a bird will come shooting out and fly around the house persued by over-excited dogs, causing chaos.

One year we found a baby oyster catcher in the middle of the waist high hay field.  Its mother had lost it in the long grass and was flying frantically overhead making a huge racket.

We have swarms of starlings that resemble an Alfred Hitchcock film, pheasants hiding in the reeds and once we even spotted a crane.

By far the favourites are the swallows.  They return each year to nest in the barn and the shed.  Sophie and Amy, our twin German Shepherds sadly no longer with us, would chase them for hours in the field, perfectly in time with each other like a dog and her shadow.

Sophie, passed this skill on to Daisy who now does her best to keep up the tradition and Archie has become a willing pupil too.  The birds swoop down, almost brushing the tips of the grass to catch the dogs attention and then soar up and fly along just out of the reach.  The pair spend many happy hours out there.  It’s obviously enjoyable to both sides and the dogs come in panting with their tongues hanging out and silly grins on their faces!

The swallows in their little dinner jackets are back again this year and in between bouts of teasing the dogs, are busy constructing a nest in the shed.  It won’t be long before it’s filled with noisy little chicks.  Here’s hoping that they’ve stuck it to wall properly this time – it has been known to fall off!

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