Swallows find swinging accommodation

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Still, the interminable rain continues to ruin everything this summer.

A fishing attempt last Saturday was severely delayed after arriving at the river in dry conditions. As soon as the hook was baited and anticipation of a fine afternoon’s sport was at its zenith, the heavens opened.

It was more than half-an-hour before it eased enough for battle to commence, but by then I was wet through.

Sunday was a great improvement, being dry all day and the sun (remember what that is?) even put in an appearance.

It was the day that Yetholm opened some of its gardens to the public and what a pleasant afternoon it turned out to be.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting other people’s private spaces and seeing how they treated their little plots to provide their own personal havens of peace and relaxation.

No two were even close to being similar and it provided great inspiration for me to do more with my own garden.

It was great to see how many people are providing for their local wildlife in the way of bird feeders, ponds and nectar-rich plants. One garden even had a nest box filled with a huge active wasp’s nest and the owners were quite happy to let it be.

On the subject of nests, some birds are still hard at it on second broods and it never ceases to amaze me some of the downright daft places they choose to set up house.

I discovered a swallow’s nest last week actually built on top of a stable door, which is opened at least twice a day.

Every time the door is opened, the nest, with its four youngsters, gets swung round on a 90-degree arc and back again, despite the fact that they could have chosen anywhere else in the large stable as a more stationary nest site.

If any readers have come across an unusual nest site this year, I would love to hear about it, especially if a digital picture is available. E-mail details and photo to corbie@homecall.co.uk and I will publish the best one with this column.

Readers have contacted me with a couple of interesting rare bird sightings in our region. R. M. from Lauder reported having a pure white house sparrow in her garden. Not having pink eyes, it was not an albino but leucistic, which means that it is caused by a reduction in all types of skin pigment, not just melanin as in albinos.

I also heard that an extremely rare hawfinch has turned up in a garden in Swinton.