I’ve always thought of Welcome Swallows (Hirudo neaoxena) and their close relatives, the Barn swallows (Hirudo rustica), as peaceful little birds. Usually you hear them twittering gently as they glide overhead or swoop over a pond or mown grass. Sometimes you see them surveying the world from a neat mud nest under household eaves.
So when I went for a walk this morning, I was pleased to see a flock of these beautiful little birds. They were relaxing in the early sunshine while perched on several vantage points at the Wondakiah wharf on Ball’s Head Bay. This was one of them:
But the swallow's relaxation didn’t last long. The pictures tell the tale:
I don’t know what caused this outbreak of intolerance. Maybe it was a parent telling a juvenile the swallow equivalent of “go and get a job”, or perhaps it was just perching rights for that particular pole.
Whatever it was, the spat didn’t last long. The swallows returned to having a quick wash and groom, like this couple:
And I think it was the losing bird that found this perch nearby:
With all quiet on the welcome swallow front, I walked on to investigate a ruckus further round the bay. The ruckus turned out to be nothing more than lorikeets and noisy miners being noisy for the sake of it.
At least the swallow spat was relatively quiet.
North Sydney – my home suburb – holds Sydney’s second largest CBD. However its parks and bushland areas, and those of neighbouring councils such as Willoughby, host a surprising variety of native flora and fauna. These bush areas are maintained by dedicated council staff, often working with local resident volunteers.