Sunday, 16 May 2010
Barn Swallows at Nikokleia, Cyprus
May 4-11, 2010:
At the very friendly country inn at Nikokleia the management permits other residents as well as humans. The building’s main entrance is open throughout daylight hours and is shaded from the heat by a vine-covered patio.
Through gaps in the vine tendrils (lower part of photo, above) and then through the ever-open door, Swallows fly constantly to and from their nests inside the building. Everything is clean and tidy but as a precaution against accidents paper-filled baskets are suspended below the nests in the hotel’s dining-room. For some nests the birds even have to fly through one room to reach a second one.
As darkness descends, the parent birds come inside to roost. One of a pair will sit on the nest, the other cling to the rough stone wall or settle down on a picture rail. The door then closes for the night with all the birds inside but by daylight it is open again and, for the birds, its back to business as usual.
In the enclosed courtyard round the back other swallows are nesting, one pair’s nest is just above head-height directly over the main door. Here the male spends much time on watch, perched on a convenient wall lamp by the nest or even on the door hinge. Other curious Swallows entering the courtyard are quickly chased off.
Migrating here for the summer months from Africa, they must have a considerable affection for the place. There are several nests at the inn with birds seemingly constantly in the air.