terça-feira, 20 de maio de 2008

Scotland and Swallows

I am sorry to anyone for my absence but am somewhat tied up with work now that I have arrived back in Scotland, it is also perishingly cold, I am so used to the warm climate in the North of Brazil that it proves a shock to the system when stepping off the plane at Edinburgh airport. Took me three days to get my bag that Air France had lost, well lost I do not know, the bag had been opened and my eye medication no longer is there so I guess they assumed it was Nitro Glycerine or plastic explosive, fat chance of compensation for that I reckon.
The bad side of leaving Brazil, other than the weather taking a nose dive, is that my fiance and I are seperated for at least four months and the phone , email, Skype, MSN or whatever is just no substitute for the pleasure of being with a loved one. I sent Graca an email yesterday commenting that most years I simply arrive in Scotland around the first of May, its mean't to be Summer and the joy is that the same day I arrive the Swallows arrive too, they chirp away and keep me company, for I work in the garages of Michael's house at Monkton, they were once the stables and we still keep the side shed door open for the birds to enter and nest, I had the same thing in Shotley Field, Northumberland, these little birds that seem to have no weight, hover and dive, picking up insects at lightning speed.
Well Graca is tickled by the comparison of these love birds travelling so far to Africa and returning as couples to continue part of their life here as we are seperated we shall be reunited so there is always a joy after the sadness of parting.


Swallow perched on overhead cable
Migration is a hazardous time and many birds die from starvation, exhaustion and in storms.

European swallows spend the winter in Africa south of the Sahara, in Arabia and in the Indian sub-continent.

British swallows spend their winter in South Africa: they travel through western France, across the Pyrenees, down eastern Spain into Morocco, and across the Sahara. Some birds follow the west coast of Africa avoiding the Sahara, and other European swallows travel further east and down the Nile Valley. Swallows put on little weight before migrating.

They migrate by day at low altitudes and find food on the way. Despite accumulating some fat reserves before crossing large areas such as the Sahara Desert, they are vulnerable to starvation during these crossings. Migration is a hazardous time and many birds die from starvation, exhaustion and in storms.

Migrating swallows cover 200 miles a day, mainly during daylight, at speeds of 17-22 miles per hour. The maximum flight speed is 35 mph.

In their wintering areas swallows feed in small flocks, which join together to form roosting flocks of thousands of birds. Swallows arrive in the UK in April and May, returning to their wintering grounds in September and October.

If you are keen to support a cause for birds here is one such cause

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