Ink sketch and W&N watercolour in my Moleskine Nature Journal – sitting on the washing line in my back yard (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa).
It was the 25th September and at long last my Greater Striped Swallows (Cecropis cucullata) were back! They were late this year, maybe they’d also been waiting for the spring rains. How on earth would they know…?
Their old nest inside our pump house from the last couple of years has fallen down and I’m looking forward to seeing if they are going to rebuild it or choose a different location.
The Greater Striped Swallow is a common breeding inter-African migrant that occurs throughout Southern Africa. It arrives during August/September and departs during April.
Endemic to Africa south of the equator, occurring from southern DRC, Angola and Zambia to southern Africa. Here it occurs across much of South Africa excluding the arid north-western Karoo and the extremities of Limpopo Province. It also occupies central Namibia, central and eastern Zimbabwe and small areas of Botswana. It generally prefers open habitats such as grassland, fynbos, karoo, open savanna, suburban areas, cultivated land and farmyards. It mainly eats insects, doing most of its foraging aerially along with other swallows or swifts, hawking prey over open grassland, large stretches of water and around man-made structures
[Xhosa] Inkonjane (generic term for swallows);
[Zulu] iNkonjane (generic term for swallows); or Sisampamema (generic term for swallows, martins, swifts and spinetails)