There are three active swallows` nests here this year. One has a family of youngsters already flying confidently over the fields. The two other nests each have two surviving fledglings who have been at their most vulnerable this week. The cats have been on curfew.
After leaving the nests, high up on a rafter, the fledglings huddled together, two in each stable, on the wood shaving covered floor. They had to wait on the ground to be fed by their parents and for their wings to grow strong enough for independent flight. I watched their parents busily flying in and out to feed the chicks and then twittering away across the fields towards the muck heaps, where insects are at their most plentiful.
This morning, two of the fledgelings had flown up to the stable door (above), where their parents fed them. I watched them for a long time and then saw them fly away with their parents, up around the holly hedge and back towards the fields.
In the stable next door, the other two babies were waiting on a high wooden shelf for their food.
Later this morning, they too had flown and then found their way back to the nest, where they peeped over the top waiting for room service!
Out on the heath at midday, the deep pink bell heather was in full flower and growing among other heathland plants like gorse.....
....bracken and yellow tormentil.....
...bramble and wood sage.
This gravel bank was covered in bell heather. Up on the main heathlands, pale purple ling is still in bud but bell heather and cross leaved heath always flower earlier and mostly colonise the heathland edges.
A tall, small flowered thistle was attracting honey bees in a damp hollow. There are families of goldfinches around here that will love the thistle seed.
Still alert and enjoying his short walks, Old Dog was waiting patiently for me to put my camera away.
Living in the beautiful New Forest, I am a married late-fifties woman, a recently retired teacher and the mother of grown up boys who have flown the nest. I share my days with cats, dogs, ponies and the wildlife all around us. Starting this blog is a chance to explore woods, fields, lanes and heath with my camera. A chance to share the simple pleasures of my country life.