Actually I think he’s a Swallow, but he really was Swift!
These little birds were very hard to capture as they zoomed overhead;
– darting all over the place, presumably catching insects on the wing.
The best I could do was to hold my little Canon camera above my head, aim in the general direction of the bird as I glimpsed it and try to track its rapid flight as I took my shot.
If I was lucky and actually caught one in frame, the bird was only about one pixel.
And there were many, many, oh so many, shots of pure blue open skies with not a speck of bird to be seen.
Exit Stage Left!
In fact, when processing my photos afterwards, I spent many minutes zooming in on supposed bird specks, before I realised that I needed to clean my laptop screen!
Still, what I did manage to catch was enough to identify the bird from my Newman’s Book of South Africa Birds. Funnily enough, he’s not South African at all, but rather a European Swallow.
Sooo – Just exactly how many photos did I take? Are you ready for this? One hundred and fifty three. Yes that’s right. 1 5 3!
Now you know why some posts take a while to produce; squinting through 153 photos looking for a speck and then zooming in, only to realise I am trying to magnify the speck of dirt on my laptop screen!
No one used to know that swallows migrated; that they flew the whole length of Africa, from England in their winter to South Africa in our summer. In 1911 a man ringed the leg of a swallow chick which was subsequently found the following year in South Africa. This was the first time it was discovered that they migrated. You can read about that epic event in this newspaper article.
Such a tiny bird to make such an arduous journey. No wonder they flitted round my garden with consummate ease!