We are blessed to be surrounded by an abundance of wildlife at Robin Hill Farm. Some are elusive such as the Deer that roam Jennetts Valley (and spied this week darting into our wood), Grass Snakes and Slow Worms (occasionally sunbathing in the grass piles), Butterflies of all colours brought out on a sunny day to drink plant nectar; others are creatures of the night - Bats, Tawny and Short Eared Owls, Frogs and Toads – darting out to hunt their dinner; most are with us all year - the families of Sparrows and Gold Finches rustling in the hedgerows, Buzzards cruising overhead on thermals; and a few like the House Martins and Sparrows visit for a short intense time.
They return in early summer from Africa to take up residence in the eaves of our house. Immediately setting about building or renovating their mud nests and raising one or two broods of chicks. Feeding the chicks is a time consuming business with the air around us full of small black and white birds swooping and diving to catch insects on the wing and bring back to fill hungry mouths. This is quite a communal way of living and we are lulled to sleep each night by the sound of birds chirruping to each other up and down the row of nests outside our bedroom window.
However, this weekend they left on their long flight south for the winter and the Robin Hill Farm courtyard is now eerily quiet. One of our guests wrote a beautifully moving poem which just captures a Summer’s evening here perfectly….this will keep us going until they return next year. Thank you Joel
The Swallow’s Tale
(An ode to Robin Hill Farm)
The dusk brings forth many things,
whilst setting others to rest.
Darting this way and that,
Amidst his own leafy liberty,
The Swallow owns the dusk at Robin Hill.
Purveying peaceful hills,
Keeping watch over verdant copse
And mirrored waters,
He swoops unerringly through lush canopy and wooded wilds,
Fixing my gaze, which he then averts,
Out of choice I fancy, true for his own horizons
And I true to mine, turn in,
Wond’ring of idyllic sou-western paths trodden and flown.
Yes, the dusk is the Swallow’s at Robin Hill
Author: Joel Smith Robin Hill Farm, 2015