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Breakfast and Supper

April 13, 2008

We recently had one of the now and again spells of unpleasant weather coming to us from North Africa. From time to time the wind picks up a load of sand particles. This can lead to a fall of incredibly dirty rain, or as recently a very unpleasant haze. Last weekend we had several days where the familiar horizon simply disappeared, and the sun was either totally lost or just a splodge of brighter yellow in an otherwise grey/orange sky.

However, the murky sky led to one very odd event. Over the last few weeks the non-resident swallows have been coming back to the island from their winter quarters further south. Some remain and breed, others pause for a refuel and then head further north.

About half an hour before sunset we were outside looking at the hazy sky, looking for a break in the murk.

We paused to watch the swallows doing a wonderful demonstration of their abilities in feeding on the local flying insects – we like swallows!! Suddenly we noticed an intruder. One of the local bats was competing with the swallows. We regularly see bats over the summer when we tend to eat outside after dark – there are a fair number that silently swoosh up and down around us. We like the bats too of course – especially with their massive appetite for eating mosquitoes.

It was fascinating to watch two entirely different flying styles – the swallows a very graceful ballet, the bat looking more like an aerial breakdancer – twitching and doing endless 90 degree turns. It was a real treat to see the bat in daylight at all – normally we only see them little as dusk falls.

Meanwhile the murky skies have gone, and we are back to more of the normal blue.

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