Mittwoch, 11. Mai 2022

Die Mauersegler sind wieder da! The swifts have arrived back once again!

 Last Saturday I was having dinner al fresco at the Deutschlandreise restaurant in the Paul Kemp Strasse in Bad Godesberg.

which I can recommend, and there in the skies above I spotted my first pair of swifts as a sign for the arrival of summer.

Swifts are the last of the migratory birds to arrive in early summer and the first to leave again in early autumn. 
They mate for life and return each year to their nesting places and continue flying above our summer skies. Following their maiden flight they only make landfall to nest after having reached sexual maturity in their second or third year. They do literally everything on the wing.
Unlike swallows they cannot land on the ground and fly upwards again. They need a drop of at least three metres in order to get airborne and resume flying. Once the start flying, they fly like no other bird.
>Here is a little poem about the amazing swifts.


Diving from your bell tower

On your maiden flight

Wings trembling with uncertainty

Tense with fright

Falling, falling, falling

Newton’s apple in your throat

You know your parents love you

But do they have to gloat?

The wind is rushing faster

The ground appearing near

Can this really be so normal?

My God, I’m feeling queer

Suddenly, your lungs are full and

The joy stick truly yanked

The curve is caught, new flight begins

We’re heading skywards, lessons banked

Fear vanquished, the ultimate flying machine

Makes the first few beats upon the wing

Conquers the air and to the sky is born,

The gleeful wingèd, feathered king

Flying like you never mean to stop

Full pilot control

No winged insect ever safe

On the Norway to the Cape patrol

At first great fear, now a mere “stroll” on the wing

Redefining “non-stop”

As your never-ending areal revere

Allows you perpetual “hip-hop”

What glee feel you now

Super, wingèd dove?

Flying for the United Nations

Master o’er all above

Screee, screeee, screeee,

Schreak, skrieck,

Skreigh skriegh

Scree skreigh

The will-o-the-wing

The screech-maker wiles and sings

Dicing, slicing through the rooftops

On vaulted wings

Some say a swift,

Urbane he be,

Can in the valleys

A mountain turn

To scree

I say a swift, rounding each and every

Roof top with such eternal glee.


In my rafters be

To nest and seek sojourn

To breed and rest a while

To take breath and breed

And like a stile

Spring into the the air

and fly forever, not like the idle swallow

I fly today, now I’m grounded ...

and maybe fly again tomorrow!”

You are a continuous cacophonous symphony

Of eternal wondrous, individual flight,

Ecstasy in motion,

Were I you, I might know fright.

Knowing you, I know none

You come as last, and leave us early,

Perpetual marker of the seasons

Antipodal friend in the hurly burly

Summer’s diplomat with summer’s

Whiles do dance

The mountain’s summits are such, yet much lower

Than your daily death-defying night flying trance

Fly forever celestial creature

With cries like none others heard

But ‘twixt Spring and Summer return in May

Enchanting word-defying, breath taking bird.

John Harrison

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