It had to come, and we’ve been waiting to celebrate with our annual cake…
Swallows are flying over the fields, farmyard and lodges once more. Yippee! But we don’t want to get too carried away, as it’s been a while since Wheatland Farm has had any actual successful nests. We will watch with fingers crossed for success this year and report back.
Nevertheless, each year we make a cake to celebrate the return of swallows, so here it is for 2020. Usually, we take a slice guests staying in the lodges, but with the coronavirus shut down that can’t happen this year. Shame! We hope you’re all looking out of your windows wherever you live and watching for your own swallow returns. Or in towns with high buildings perhaps swifts – which usually come a bit later (about 10th May usually for Winkleigh).
Looking back at previous years, swallows were spotted on 30 March in 2019, around 12th April in 2018 and 9th April in 2017. So the timing is about right, and there are plenty of insects in the air for food.
We’re so glad they didn’t get the memo banning international travel this year! And they are not the only new arrivals. The trees are full of chiff chaffs, and yesterday the first black cap was singing – a lovely male with his clear colouration, giving the species its name (the female has a chestnut coloured crown). Butterflies abound too – plenty of peacock butterflies are jostling each other in aerial displays near the wildlife pond. Perhaps these are adults from the caterpillars found last summer. Meanwhile an occasional purposeful-looking brimstone flits by… Hopefully, as well as a mate, these will find the new alder buckthorn trees we’ve planted especially for them. Last summer watching a brimstone emerge from its chrysalis just outside Nuthatch Lodge was a major treat!