I’ve previously written about the Welcome Swallows (Hirundo neoxena) at Oyster Cove, and I returned there a few days ago. However this swallow looked a little unwelcoming as I walked past:
On the other side of the path, another swallow sat on a sign as it called to others flying overhead:
It was joined by a second swallow but still continued to call:
Both swallows then joined the others in the air, swooping low over the grass as they hawked for insects.
One managed to catch something:
Several swallows then landed, forming a small group sitting on the grass.
At first I thought they were drinking from a wet patch, but then I realised they were getting mud for their nest-building. Here’s one with a beakful of mud:
A second swallow swooped down to check on progress with the excavation:
It didn’t do any digging itself, just flew ahead encouraging the first bird to follow:
The second bird took off after it, flying out over the water, and then back under the pier I was standing on. From the traffic to and fro, it’s likely that several pairs of swallows are nesting beneath the pier, but I couldn’t get below to see. Instead, here is a photo of another swallows’ nest, taken in Randwick.
Seeing the enormous amount of mud in the beak of the swallow in the second last photo made me realise just how much nest-building is done by beak. Perhaps it was the prospect of carrying mouthfuls of mud that made the swallow in my first photo look so grumpy!