A swallow nested in the Village Hall

Luckily, we were able to photograph it


In August 2021, a swallow nested in Hatley Village Hall's spacious porch – this is one of five photographs of the four baby birds and a parent feeding it. Photo – Peter Mann.

By John O’Sullivan

Well, not exactly in the hall, but in its spacious porch.

In August 2021, a swallow nested in Hatley Village Hall's spacious porch – this is one of five photographs of the four baby birds and a parent feeding it. Photo – Peter Mann.

Four lusty baby swallows nested in Hatley Village Hall’s spacious porch. Photos – Peter Mann.

In August 2021 a pair of swallows constructed a bracket-like nest out of mud held together by straws and stems and lined with fine grass and feathers. In due course they raised a hungry family.

The photos show the young birds not long before flying, by which time the adults must have brought them many thousands of flying-insects.

Indeed, the evidence is abundant on the area beneath the nest, fortunately not directly en route for human visitors!

We trust the young birds made it safely to join the many other swallows visible around Hatley in late summer.

Off we go
By early September, large numbers of these birds, together with the occasional house martin, appeared on wires around the village, twittering in excitement and taking off for circuits of the houses – as if trying to make their minds up about leaving.

Later in the same month, the great majority of British swallows will be on their way south.

Birds carrying leg-rings put on in England have been found as far away as the Cape in South Africa – a journey of over 8,000 miles – where they enjoy a second summer.

We won’t be so lucky, but at least we can look forward to seeing them next April, when their graceful shape, colourful plumage and charming song will once again be with us in Hatley.


The photographs

In August 2021, a swallow nested in Hatley Village Hall's spacious porch – this is one of five photographs of the four baby birds and a parent feeding it. Photo – Peter Mann.

Mum (or dad) has arrived.

In August 2021, a swallow nested in Hatley Village Hall's spacious porch – this is one of five photographs of the four baby birds and a parent feeding it. Photo – Peter Mann.

“Stop squabbling and open wider…”

In August 2021, a swallow nested in Hatley Village Hall's spacious porch – this is one of five photographs of the four baby birds and a parent feeding it. Photo – Peter Mann.

“…so I can pop in this delicious fly.”

In August 2021, a swallow nested in Hatley Village Hall's spacious porch – this is one of five photographs of the four baby birds and a parent feeding it. Photo – Peter Mann.

“I’ll be back in a minute.”

Peter Mann writes… Right place, wrong lens! Good photography is first and foremost about light and secondly about the equipment one uses – but sometimes having the right equipment will make for a much better photograph.

Looking into a darkish corner well above head height at four, small, bobbing heads and a swiftly moving parent is where having the right kit would have helped – in this case a ‘decent’ zoom lens and specialist flash lighting.

Unfortunately, I was ‘travelling light’, so only had camera and a standard lens, which is why my photos have a rather soft, out of focus look to them. A long, long way from top-notch photography, but possibly better than no pictures at all.

Post created 10th September 2021.