Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Swallows 2

Remember the swallows who were nesting under the verandah roof in August? I'm happy to announce the babies have finally appeared and are flying around on their own now. Or some of them are. These two are still in the nest:

Photo by Deirdre: baby swallows in nestClick for a larger view. And if you can't quite make them out - look for big black eyes and white face stripes, which is practically all you can see of them: there's corrugated iron above, a nest below, and those big feathers (on the left-hand side of the photo) don't look like anybody in their family, so are probably imports.


Look out... More baby snaps...

A nest just a few metres away from the first one:

Yes, there are six (count 'em: six!) babies. The nest is big enough to accommodate them all because it's a freakish variation on the usual design: I messed with it myself. Years ago the original nest fell down and the resident babies fell with it. I tacked up a temporary house for them - a pocket of shadecloth wired onto an old bit of board - and put the one surviving baby back into it. He/she didn't go on surviving, unfortunately, but the temporary nest stayed where it was and became permanent, the birds returning in later years to add their own nesting materials to the outside of it (at the bottom of the photo you can see a bit of the green shadecloth poking out from within their mud wall extension).

Six babies though? That seems like a lot. I'm guessing that:
(a) the roominess of the nest meant that none fell or were pushed out (allowing more to survive than would normally be the case), or
b) more than one family has taken up residence there.

There's a lot of activity around the nest, anyway. Birds fly in and out all day, including all six of those babies whenever I walk too close.