We knew it was spring when we saw the first swallows arrive at the end of April. Now they are frantically finding material to build their nests, which are generally made of mud, feathers and grass.
Swallows feed almost entirely on flying insects and if they are feeding a brood need around 6000 flies, bluebottles aphids and flying ants a day.
If they ever slow down enough so you can see them properly they have distinctive reddish brown face, deeply forked tails and iridiscent blue/black upper parts and off white underparts. Usually they are flying so quickly you just get a glimpse of shiny black and wite and manage to identify them mainly by their tails.