I always wonder about past inhabitants of this ancient castle. And who is ensconced here after we visitors have departed?
Sunlight does not fall onto a nest in a window recess and I only see the adult swallow clinging to it in the photographs I take. I can hear young birds but cannot see them.
Then we visitors go home and leave the castle to its avian residents and wish them a successful breeding season. These young birds will be a second or third brood.
' How will you live without a father?'
He replies, ' As birds do mother. With what I get, I mean.'
Swallows must be resourceful if they are to thrive, choosing to breed in the shelter of a castle surrounded by gardens and farmland where there will be insects to feed themselves and their broods. And lakes where the birds could collect mud to repair and build their nests.
Pears ripen on a castle wall and the kitchen garden is an attractive mix of flowers and vegetables. It's a picture self-reliance and sustainability.
Looking at that first closed, convex mud nest- so neat and well constructed compared to the second nest- I'm struck not only by the contrast of the two nests but the bird clinging to it is bright white about the face and I reckon I glimpse a streak of white rump. The image isn't clear but I can't see swallow streamers- so I consult birder par excellence Jeff Holmes. He know for sure but he always encourages looking more closely and thinking it through.