Standing beside the sunlit vineyard after the storm, the other day, I noticed a few bugs floating by on the slight breeze. Lovely day. I’m at work, talking away (politely) to clients and trying not to drift off into watching the kestrel floating down the valley, or the Sardinian warblers bickering in the olive tree. Now I find that, as I look over into the vineyard I can see plumes of insects rising from it, the wings catching the light. It looks bright and hopeful to see them drifting up into the air. I wonder what they are. One of my clients yelps and bats at something floating onto his ear, knocking it down. “Don’t worry,” I say hastily, “Only a flying ant.”
I’ve talked in some of these blogs about how much wildlife you can see on short walks, road or track walks, which you can do even if you are not a strong walker. I see wildlife even walking around the village – though it does help when you are surrounded by natural park or farmland.
But last night I sat on my tiny roof terrace and watched birds. In the long warm part of the year – from about April to about October – our village skies are full of activity from what I call the summer birds, and they were there: I could tick them off mentally – multiple fluttering house-martins close overhead; occasional swallows and a swallow that perched on the rail of an abandoned half house giving a familiar twitter-and-buzz; a few swifts with their thin-winged arc flying higher but faster than the martins against the bright blue sky.
There were stout pigeons that flew through the busy skies too, and others: a pied wagtail, a bird I’m always seeing on road edges out of town but rarely among the houses. It came and perched (and wagged) on a tv aerial in front. On another aerial at the back (these things were surely put up for birds to perch on!) a pair of spotless starlings stopped in and gave a few wolf-whistles.
And finally (it was edging towards evening with the temperature gently dropping and the light draining slowly, slowly from the sky) the mad flittering of the crop-caped bat. I think they nest below the roof tiles – that is my guess. Always happy to see these fascinating flying mice, sharing the sky with birds.
All that in just half an hour of watching these crowded springtime skies. It may not seem very exciting – nothing exotic – but every one of these creatures is extraordinary in its own right!