Reading: Martins from Mary Priestley’s Book of Birds

… walked round the place, and up and down the towpath, along which spread a faint mist from the river, and still saw nothing of my birds. Then from the barn came a single swallow, and flew steeply up into the sky. I followed its flight with my eyes, and suddenly saw why I had failed to find the martins. They were all up there in the blue, circling round in company with some barn-swallows and chimney-swifts, from which I could just distinguish them at the height they were flying. The sun had not yet risen where I stood on the solid earth; but he already reached the birds high above my head. And as the earth spun and the sun’s rays approached its surface, the birds sank with them, twittering all the time….” — Reprinted in Book of Birds  — extract from Bird-Watching and Bird Behavior by Julian Huxley.

This reminds me of the summer cottage in Lake Webster. We used to watch the purple martins swirl around their martin house, out near the dock, coming back in the evenings. As we get ready for some more winter weather, it’s lovely to think of summers of the past.


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