Roachside Cottage

Part of the living landscape of the Roaches

Peak District National Park - Upper Hulme, Nr Leek ST13 8UB

Last summer, when we built the new log shed at the rear of the cottage, we expected that it would soon be colonised by the local wildlife. With it's lean-to roof and ventilated ends, it's not hard to see how attractive it is. After all, if you lived on a grouse moor, lashed by rain & wind, shrouded in mist & where snow lingers longer than in the valleys, you'd probably always be looking for somewhere sheltered and safe from harm.

We expected the first colonisers to be either bats - since they are frequently seen whirling about the sky here at dusk, or owls - since we have all five British varieties living along the edge of The Roaches.

Instead, sitting atop the vent pipe, in a beautifully crafted but tiny nest, we have Swallows!

Yes, I know the photo just looks like a sort of fluffy ball - but look again closely and count the little yellow beaks of the chicks.....

Yes, there are 4 of them, all squashed in like so many sardines in a tin!

In just a few weeks time, they'll fledge and, soon after, commence the perilous journey to Africa.

I wonder how may of our little family will survive to return here next spring?

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