Friday, 11 May 2007

Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena)

Another day, another endless meeting. While the talking went on, I watched the very welcome Welcome Swallows (Hirundo neoxena) doing their death-defying aerial stunts in the narrow space between the walkway and the window.

A friend thinks that these birds look a bit menacing. It's the black mask, you see. Not so much Zorro as Ronnie Biggs. I think they're wonderful and their antics entertained me as the meeting went on. And on.

Like Barn Swallows, they often construct their mud nests on buildings and bridges. Caves and cliffs—the natural sites—aren't quite so popular. The species seems to have benefited from European settlement. One pair of Welcome Swallows built their home on the deck of a paddle steamer that cruised the Murray River in South Australia from Murray Bridge to Morgan. Even if they're not nesting, swallows make use of the vessels on the Murray. I've seen birds perched on ferry railings, taking the easy route across the river. Once the boat docks, the birds take off. Lucky things.

Marchant, S & Fullagar, PJ. (1983). Nest records of the Welcome Swallow. Emu 83: 66–74.


Trevor said...

Are you trying to impress me with a reference to my home town??? Welcome Swallows are indeed very common all along the River Murray and especially around ferries, paddleboats and house boats.

Some meetings can be very hard to "swallow". Good to see you made the most of a bad situation!

Nice photo.

Snail said...

*groan* for the last para.

I'm trying to remember where I saw the ferry-travelling swallows. Somewhere near Tailem Bend?

jj said...

Christopher Hitchens - God is Not Great

Listen Now - 10052007 | Download Audio - 10052007

A conversation about the apparent atheist backlash to the apparent rise in religious fundamentalism - the backlash indicated by several current books attacking what Richard Dawkins calls 'the god delusion'. In this program the celebrated writer and committed atheist, Christopher Hitchens tells Phillip he has put out a challenge to preachers across America to come out and debate him.


Christopher Hitchens
Author, essayist, columnist, polemicist.


Title: God is Not Great: how religion poisons everything
Author: Christopher Hitchens
Publisher: Allen and Unwin, 2007.

Phillip Adams
Story Researcher and Producer

Chris Bullock

jj said...

Taken on Kangaroo Island by a mutual friend.

sarala said...

Swallows are indeed great to watch.

Snail said...

jj, Compass is playing "The Root of all Evil" on Sunday night.

Sarala, I haven't had a chance to watch the swallows this week. But I have been trying to identify the LBJs in the gum trees in the carpark. No idea what they are. I'm calling them all thornbills until someone corrects me!

Mandi said...

jj said...

Taken on Kangaroo Island by a mutual friend.

Shall have to be less tardy in keeping up with your blog! Yes, these little guys were amazingly agile... beautiful things imo :)