Friday, June 29, 2012

Baby Swallows

We are lucky enough to have a family of swallows that come and visit us every year. This year has been no exception. The swallows next above our back door. This year they have had 4 baby chicks, sometimes they have 2 lots of chicks during the summer months but this year they are quite late. 
The baby chicks have been on their first flying lessons today. It was lovely to see these baby birds taking to the skies. All the babies have done really well flying with ease. 
Mummy and daddy swallows have been extra aggressive this year, leaving the house via the back or in the field they are dive bombing us, missing our heads by inches. Still we do not mind we love having these pretty little birds sharing our home. 

Swallow Input :-

Swallows are small birds with dark, glossy-blue backs, red throats, pale underparts and long tail streamers. They are extremely agile in flight and spend most of their time on the wing. The sexes are very similar, having metallic royal blue upperparts and breast band, cream-buff underparts and russet (red-brown) forehead, chin and throat. The tail has white markings along the inside edges of the fork. The bill and legs are black.

The female's tail streamers are shorter than those of the male.
Juveniles are duller, lack both the russet forehead, chin and throat and the tail streamers are much shorter
The eggs of the Swallow are about 20 mm by 14 mm in size, and are smooth, glossy, and white with reddish speckles. The duties of incubating the eggs are performed by the female. The newly-hatched young are fed by both adults, who catch insects on-the-wing and collect them in their throats before returning to the nest. Once fledged, the youngsters receive in-flight food from their parents.

They are widespread breeding birds in the Northern Hemisphere, migrating south in winter. Swallows herald the arrival of spring as they arrive back in Britain after wintering in southern Africa. As the time to return to Africa approaches they become restless and can often be seen perching in large flocks.
Swallows are found in areas where there is a ready and accessible supply of small insects. They are particularly fond of open pasture with access to water and quiet farm buildings. Large reedbeds in late summer and early autumn can be good places to look for pre-migration roosts.
These beautiful little birds cam be seen between March and October. Swallows are summer visitors, arriving from late March to mid-May and returning to their southern African wintering grounds in September and October.
A few individual birds winter in southern England and Ireland.

The weather has a significant effect on the Swallow's life and so the population varies greatly from one year to the next. Among these fluctuations, there has been a decline in the European population and so they are on the Amber List  of Species of Conservation Concern. The main possible causes of this decline are:
  • Climate change in their wintering grounds, along their migration routes and in their breeding areas.
  • The ever-expanding Sahara is becoming an increasingly hazardous region for the birds to cross.
  • Reduced numbers of nest sites and insects owing to changes in farming practices.

Their song is a rambling warble of trills and twitters sometimes sounding almost like a sparrow.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Aaron`s Nana

Aaron`s Nana is 82 years old , 83 come January 2013. Recently Nana had a very bad heart scare and ended up in hospital. She had a very bad pain in her chest, sitting on the edge of her bed she took her angina spray. I checked on her every minute whilst making the tea. Usually when feeling the pain it is an angina attack. The attack only lasts a few minutes then passes over. This time it was very different.
Suddenly I heard a strange noise, then found Nana gasping for air, within a few second she had lost consciousness  and and slumped down. I screamed and shook her slightly to try and arose her. She looked as though she was dying. Her breathing was shallow, I felt as though she would stop breathing at this point.
I grabbed the phone dialling 999, giving the details was difficult as I was constantly checking for breathing. Simon held her hand as she squeezed his during her time unconscious. Ambulance control stayed on the phone till the paramedic arrived which was a long time. Simon was not best pleased at the length of time it took for a paramedic and then the ambulance to arrive. 
Nana still unconscious was placed on heart monitors which showed irregular beats of her heart. I was told it was a heart attack.
A few minutes later Nana started to come around. She had pains in her jaws a sure sign of a heart attack or angina. a few more minutes later her heart returned to normal. The ambulance men took her to the ambulance. I then fell apart it is very hard watching someone you love looking like there going to die n front of you. Placed on monitors again she stated to feel sick. 
Reaching the hospital it was very difficult as I was lead through the corridors to where Daniel once lay. Memories came flooding back tears welled in my eyes.
Casualty staff were really good we were there for some time till a bed was found. Simon had gone home to tend to Aaron who was worrying about his precious Nana. A while later once Nana was settled and wide awake, causing havoc, Simon came to collect me and I went home completely shattered.
The doctors are not sure what caused Nana to collapse. It is highly possible she had this possible bad angina / heart attack due to stress. She has been very upset lately seeing Aaron so unhappy and stressed lately. Aaron and his Nana are very close. They have a very special bond. Aaron towers above his Nana now and is very protective towards her.  Aaron is growing into a fine young man the last few days since his Nana`s attack he has been a star. Ready to act using his first aid skills if needed. We all  love our Nana very much and certainly do not want to see her have any more attacks like this. I am thankful to god that all turned out well and we have our precious well loved Nana with us. Many Thanks to everyone that has wished her well and said many prayers for her over the last few days. :-)  xx  :-D 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Llanymynech Rocks Nature Reserve & The Lime Kilms

Recently on a lovely warm sunny day Simon and I headed for a walk with the dogs to :

Llanymynech Rocks Nature Reserve

With spectacular old quarries with cliffs towering over the village. The site was designated a nature reserve more than 30 years ago, shared between the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trusts.
Today, much of it is woodland, with ash trees twined in wild clematis, or old man's beard, as it is also known, on account of the smoky wreaths of seed-heads that turn bushes and trees frosty white here in autumn. But the greatest botanical treasures are found in the short, calcareous grassland and old spoil heaps directly beneath the cliff.
Bee and pyramidal orchids grow here, along with the bright yellow rock-rose and a whole herb garden of aromatic plants - thyme, marjoram and wild basil.

There is a 3 mile circular walk from the official  car park off the A483. The walk takes you passed the cliff face down the old mining tracks onto  the Hoffman Kiln. Taking the track to the side of the Kiln you then cross the field before turning left onto the canal tow path. As you reach the boarder between Pant and Llanymynech  you walk along the lanes before heading back to the car park to find your car.
This walk is very  relaxing and peaceful and not strenuous at all. We saw many signs of nature throughout our walk, including beautiful glowing dragon flies. Simon and I  managed to get some lovely photographs of these pretty insects as they settled on the near by bushes.
We both had a lovely time, as did our dogs. Below are some of the photographs we took which tell the story of our recent walk.