They're clamorous and all a-flutter as parents fly in with food. A pale, wide gape, a hint of down in their plumage and a food=begging posture define the young birds whose tail streamers begin to show- picked-out in shadows as the sun comes out.
It is 2nd August so perhaps a month of being well-fed, of flexing their flight muscles and of growing independence and acquired strength will give them the resilience they need for their journey.
They sit passive, preening until the adult approaches with food then they flutter their wings and open wide their gapes and are clamorous. And the adult flies in, delivers insects in an instant, and Is off for more. Today, they fly so low they’re below my knees.
In September, the swallows will muster as they prepare to migrate. It's something I always hope to see. Some years, I simply find they are gone. But to come upon mustering swallows is thrilling. Last time I saw this was on Helsington Barrows and some five hundred swallows gathered in the tops of a cluster of larch trees, skimming so low over the wall that hid me I could hear their wing-beats.