By my very approximate estimation, Ted's summer playmates, the swallows, will be approaching the Pyrenees by now. I think they left here about five days ago, embarking on their miraculous journey to South Africa. Covering about 200 miles a day, they fly through western France, across the Pyrenees, down eastern Spain into Morocco, and then across the Sahara to reach their final destination, where they will overwinter in the sunshine, before coming all the way back again. Their departure leaves me in no doubt that summer is over and the year is moving on. But Ted and I will be looking out for them again in the spring, and frankly we can't wait for their return. Everything about a swallow is joyous.
On 5 September they were beginning to gather along wires and amongst small trees across the golf course. By the middle of last week, the skies were empty where previously they had been habitually swooping and soaring.
By contrast, starlings are now arriving here from Northern Europe, to spend their winter in warmer climes! They will be kicking around until about March next year, minding the shop until the swallows return.