Summer birds

We moved house earlier this summer. We’re still in Cerdanyola, a town we love, and are living in exactly the district we prefer. The barri de Sant Ramon is effectively the casc antic – old quarter – of Cerdanyola and our views are now of cases de poble and a few factories, much as any Vallès town has to offer.

A new house means new views and new wildlife. While the exact species haven’t changed much – same old swallows, swifts, sparrows and magpies (and, thankfully, fewer damned catorras) – our view of the first two has improved impressively. While they don’t nest on our house, they do nest nearby. They swoop over our low terrace, buzzing us in a maverick way, and shitting on us from low heights.

We’ve just returned from two weeks’ holiday in Menorca – and three weeks ought to be the mandated minimum, if you ask me – to see our winged friends changed. Previously, they were still parents and a few adolescents, learning the ropes. One such youngster had taken to sleeping in the tree on our neighbours’ terrace. An independent mind, perhaps. Or maybe just not enough room at home.

Now, the adolescents seem to hold sway. They’re all fledged and practiced and they have doubled or tripled the number of birds – and droppings – we can see from our table. And in this newly augmented flock, we see the augur of autumn. I can’t remember the date they normally leave, but they arrived two days early this year.

I can’t make out the different species, beyond swift and swallow. Might there be some martins in there too? I guess so. All I know is that I have five days left to enjoy my summer vacation. I shall spend them sorting out the boxes that remain in the old flat, drinking a bit of wine, taking some sun and watching this ever-growing family of birds as it starts to prepare for its trip home to Africa. And cleaning up the mess as they perform their bombing runs on our laundry, drying in the sun.

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