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"A Scottish Wind in the Willows on high end skunk."

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Friday, 25 July 2014

Today's Walk - helping a grounded swift

Another very short walk round my local area, due to the aforementioned sore foot.  Just fifty yards or so from my house I found a grounded swift, stranded in the middle of the road.  I don't know how it got there.  Swifts don't land, and it would be rare for them to fly low enough to be hit by a car I think, especially in the high pressure that we have at the moment.
Anyway, I picked it up, and was horrified to see literally dozens of vile parasites crawling and scurrying around beneath it - bad enough seeing them on the ground, but then, loads of the revolting things started swarming out of the swift's feathers and running nimbly up my arm.  I'm not squeamish about insects and I respect all living things, but these are hard things to tolerate.  Flat flies, I believe they are called, and very common on swifts. Difficult to brush them off quickly while holding the bird and trying not to alarm it.  Nevertheless I managed to remove quite a lot of them from both myself and the bird, and I'm fairly sure the swift felt better for it.  (I know I did!)
I carried the swift uphill towards a nearby field, holding it aloft as you see in the photo; the swift began to perk up and take an interest. When I got to the gate at the top of the field I stopped and gently moved my arm forwards.  Luckily, there was a tiny breeze and the swift opened its wings in response and then took off, straight from my hand.  Its fellows were not far away, circling the church spire as usual, and I'm sure it quickly found its family.

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