Over the last couple of weeks our house martins, the unofficial welcome party to our arrival last August, have come home to roost. A couple of their old nests were relocated after the repairs to the fascia and guttering but they seem to be very happily building new ones and renovating the old ones.

Every morning, from our bathroom window, we’ve been watching a pair hard at work with strands of dried grass and mud, supplementing the existing nest and preparing it for fresh eggs. Two other nests are under construction either side of our bedroom window. The construction process seems to be that they start out by creating a golf-ball-size lump of material as the core and then weave out from there to make a suspended hollow in the gap under the eaves.

They certainly seem to be enjoying the sunshine and showers, swooping and diving all over the garden as the rain falls to take advantage of confused flies and midgies. They are a whirl of activity, constantly flitting between nest and lawn at incredible speed and gobbling up anything that comes along on their flight path. Anything that decimates that many bugs must be a boon, especially with peak midgie season coming up and no harsh winter to wipe them out.

We think there are also some swifts nesting in the eaves. Swifts don’t really bother making nests, laying eggs on bare surfaces, or creating a hodge-podge of feather and debris. The swifts prefer hunting at dusk, in the gap between other birds feasting and the bats coming out for their midnight feast.