Birdwatch: the swallow – my favourite bird has left to enjoy a second summer

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In the UK, we face a long, cold winter without these travellers and I cannot wait for their return

During the summer, as swallows hawk for insects high over our Somerset home, they are a daily embodiment of hope and joy. When they disappear, for the colder, darker half of the year, they leave a corresponding gap in our hearts.

We often say that swallows fly south for the winter. Yet, although they do travel 6,000 miles to South Africa, it is only our winter they miss – when they arrive, they enjoy a second spring and summer.

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