On the Ropes

One of the pleasures of being on the lake

is watching the birds~

especially the Swallows and their cousins,

the Purple Martins.

We have been visited by a large group

or “kettle” of Barn Swallows this year.

We watched them flying under our dock to build nests formed by mud cups this summer.

Both parents assist in nest-building, and make an estimated 1000 trips to collect mud to build a nest which is then lined with grass and feathers.

They return to same nest season to season and making any repairs needed.

This photo is attempt #35~  less than stellar, but a finally successful & coordinated effort for me :) holding the camera one-handed, while floating under our dock to catch the swallow sitting inside.

The downside to being on the water

is the abundance of insects~

This is our third hatch or “bloom” of Mayflies this summer~ they mature all at once, hovering together and clinging to every surface~ chairs, siding, screens. . .

Messy but harmless, Mayflies they live only a

few hours to a few days~

long enough to mate and become part of the food chain.

Which explains our abundance of Swallows,

lined up to feast like it’s a Thanksgiving buffet :)

Entertaining to watch their aerial

 acrobatics as they snatch insects out of the air~

Hard on ropes though :)

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

Little Red House for Mosaic Monday~

A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday~

Jenny Matlock for Alphabe-Thusday, K for Kettle of Barn Swallows

The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays~

38 responses to “On the Ropes

  1. Happier Than A Pig in Mud

    Always something happening on the water! Got a chuckle at the visual of you floating in an inner tube tethered to the dock holding on to your camera for dear life:@)

  2. Debbie@Mountain Breaths

    What a great shot of the mayflies. Glad you kept the camera dry and were successful with the dock shot of the swallow :-) LOL

  3. Julie Harris

    Beautiful pictures of the beautiful birds. Thank you for sharing with us (and the trouble it took to photograph. Ha!). Love your blog.
    Julie from Michigan

  4. Love the birds on the rope. So cute! Great Pics.

    CE NC

  5. Enjoyed this so much Mary. We have Barn Swallows here at the lake. They nest in the bluffs. Had them at the farm where they nested on our front porch. Being territorial,they let me know the porch was theirs, every morning when I went out for my walk.:-)
    We have Humming Birds on our deck here at the lake. Not many at home but lots here to watch.

    Love the birds on a rope! All your photos are beautiful!!

  6. Wow! The trouble (fun?) you go to to share your life on the lake with us! Fly, fly, fly!!!

  7. Mary, that’s one amazing shot of the Mayflies, and the shot of the birds on the rope should be a greeting card. ;-) I, too, love to watch birds, especially when they are building their nest. Such an interesting process! I’ve not witnessed a mud nest being built. That must really be something.
    Hope all is well lakeside and that you are enjoying a beautiful summer. Sadie and I send big hugs to you, Gracie, and Chloe.

  8. I’ve been wondering what those flies were in our pool this year for the first time in 15 yrs. here in MI. I just researched Mayflies and they’re a welcome sign that natural waterways are free of pollution! Also, we adore Barn Swallows and Purple Martins but see them very rarely here. How fortunate that you can enjoy them!

  9. Interesting to learn about mayflies! Now, maybe when we receive the seasonal gnats that cling to our outside windows and hover in my garden I will think good thoughts that they are part of the food chain. Great shots. Thanks for your perseverance capturing them.

  10. Joe and I love all sorts of birds. These water loving birds are beautiful.

  11. Fascinating post! amazing how birds know to come back year after eyar to the same place!

  12. What fabulous shots… you caught the birds and insects in their element! I would put up with the bugs to be by the water!

  13. Super photos, and I appreciate your effort in sharing them with us! :D

  14. Thanks for going to all the trouble to get the great shots of the swallows..wonderful!!

  15. Great pictures! I didn’t realize they were called a kettle. How interesting. I think I have a record number of barn swallows in my barn this year. There’s another group about ready to fly the nest.

  16. Barn swallows took over my barn one summer and scared the beejeezus out of my horses. It was really kind of funny to watch 1,000 lb animals duck when a swallow flew over their heads.

    lovely shots!

  17. I love to see barn swallows soaring and diving to catch insects! Your photos are wonderful!!

  18. On a field trip with the kids at Equestrian Camp, we were in the Mounted Police barn, and the kids were as pleased with the barn swallows that live there, as they were with the gorgeous horses. the swallows were all sitting on the rafters high up in the barn watching us. When they would fly off it was exciting to see. The kids loved it (me too!) Great post!

  19. Lovely bird! Great shots!


  20. What wonderful, bright photos you are sharing here! And, I had no idea a group of any kind of birds was referred to as a “kettle.”

  21. Kettle! Who knew? Thanks for the new vocab word. Great shot of the nest and the one of the birds lined up on the ropes.

  22. What delightful summer guests, and you have captured them perfectly!


  23. You have captured some awesome shots. I love the insects one. Great submission

  24. You perseverance paid off in a great shot of the nest! I enjoyed all your photos — especially the aerial acrobatics one! And “Kettle” — we learn something new everyday!

  25. Oh my…that’s an awful lot of birds. Your mid-air catch was fantastic!!!

  26. Your photos are always so beautiful! Thanks for the share!

  27. I love watching birds. You know, I learn something everyday from reading blogs. I had never heard of a band or group of birds being called a kettle. I’ve heard of a gaggle, a flock etc but never a kettle of barn swallows. I had to google it. Thanks!~Ames

  28. Wow! The aerial shot was awesome! Great catch! We had some swallows build a nest over our boat a few years ago. The only downside were the bird droppings :(

  29. Dear friend,
    Great, great shots!! In fact, amazing photos. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Oh, this brings back such memories. When I was a little girl in New Hampshire, we had a barn swallow nest in the corner of our porch. Even though we often played on the porch, we were always so careful not to disturb the chicks. Each year we looked forward to the next generation that would return to their cozy little “mud hut.” A year or so after we moved away, we took a drive by that old house, only to find that the porch had been torn down, and replaced by a couple of bay windows. Our dear little birds had to find someplace else to nest–just as we did. :0) –Lucinda

  31. oh so beautiful; love these sweet little birds..

  32. Great shots! I am pretty unsuccessful at bird photography, so I appreciate your success!

    Hope you can stop by my blog sometime, and if you have not already done so, “Like” Hood Photography on Facebook! Thanks!

  33. I really enjoyed this post about swallows and insects. On my way home from a neighborhood gas station I saw a black bear in my rear mirror and also a blue heron flying up in the sky just over the tree tops and a beautiful sunset. It is pleasant to live by the water.

  34. Lovely Swallows such beautiful birds, great shots.

  35. What a krazy wonderful link for the letter ‘K’.

    I’ve always liked watching swallows! They seem like they just float on the wind!

    Thanks for sharing these great pictures!


  36. Apparently you, like me, love to watch the birds……your captures are better than mine, though!

  37. Great shots of the Swallows.. I have not seen any
    here but we do have lots of odd bird types to say
    the least. Tropical….

  38. Pingback: Identifying Birds & A Winner! | Home is Where the Boat Is

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