Despite some unseasonal weather, we do do need some rain after a particularly dry winter though, it does feel like summers if hot on the heels of spring. When the sun is out its got some real heat in it, Johns been in the sea already and nature is showing us a few well loved signs too. We particularly like to see the Swifts and Swallows arrive. A couple of weeks ago we were in the gardens of the old palace at Jacarilla and house martins along with one or two swallows were busy collected mud to build nests on surrounding buildings. Not a sight John will forget in a hurry as one house martin deposited a little reminder on his head, no don't laugh. I tried to convince him it was lucky, and we have won a weekend for two in Madrid this last week so....
As I say though we love to see, and hear, the swifts at this time of year. The first time we every saw them in great numbers was a few years ago when we were working on a hotel barge in france, now that was interestingway to spend a summer.
The swift is a medium-sized aerial bird, an amazing flier. Even sleeping on the wing! Although it is a plain sooty brown, in flight against the sky it appears black. It has long, scythe-like wings and a short, forked tail. It is a summer visitor, that winters in Africa. As the daylight goes they can be seen wheeling across the sky as the take insects on the wing. They look as if they are related to the swallows but in fact are in same family as hummingbirds. As one of the fastest fliers around they reach speeds of 18–50 km/h,
Guess they are the original members of the mile high club as not only do they feed, drink, and preen in flight the are the only group of birds known who actually mate on the wing.
We have read lots of theories as to why and when they make there evocative screaming call, whatever the reason it heralds summer to us.