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welcomeswallowFlocks of Welcome Swallows (Hirundo neoxena) have been hunting on our farm for months now, spiralling around us as we work, then resting as a group along the fences. They are amazingly acrobatic hunters, plucking insect prey from the air in circles and dives. Apparently, swallows need to eat their own body weight every day to maintain their health. While they weigh only 10 grams, this can mean they can eat up to 400 times a day (approximately every two minutes) to ensure their sprightliness.

Young welcome swallows huddle together at Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island (October 2014).

Young welcome swallows huddle together at Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island (October 2014).

Over the last month or so, we’ve spotted swallows hunting over the dam on a couple of occasions. They circle, dive and appear to be plucking prey from just below the surface of the water. If they are hunting sub-surface prey, according to birder Jennifer Spry, this is a largely undocumented phenomenon. These photos are a little too indistinct to say for sure, but interesting nonetheless!

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Emerging from a dive

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Circling

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Swooping

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Emerging, head down, from a dip in the dam

Perfect swimming weather.

Perfect swimming weather.

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