Migrating birds were delayed by poor weather on their 6,000-mile journey from southern Africa, shortening their breeding season
During the first week of April each year, regular as clockwork, I get a very welcome phone call. When I answer, the voice at the other end simply says: “It’s Andrew. They’re back!” That’s the moment I know our local swallows have returned, having survived their epic 6,000-mile journey from South Africa to Somerset.
Andrew Ratcliffe and his brother Duncan run a car repair workshop in a village down the road from me. Here, for almost four decades, swallows have made their nests on the crossbeams beneath the roof. All day long, they fly in and out, bringing back beakfuls of insects for their hungry chicks, seemingly oblivious to the constant noise and the comings and goings of customers.