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Ulmer: Swallows' departure is halfway mark of summer

Ulmer: Swallows' departure is halfway mark of summer


Is it just me or have the doldrums of summer arrived? On one hand there’s plenty of stuff to worry about and on the other it’s kind of nice to find a place in the shade to sit, let go of the daily trivia and just do nothing.

So let’s start with swallows. For the record there are thousands of them that live along the cliffs of Lake Tschida. Legend has it that these little acrobatic birds fly up here from Capistrano in the spring and head back there about now. (For those of you who are geographically challenged Capistrano is in California where swallows from Argentina, 6,000 miles south of California, participate in a March fly-in to attend the Annual Swallows Day parade and then they head back to Argentina in October, but it’s unlikely our swallows follow the same path.)

So I Googled and found the following: Swallows mate for life and in an unerring regularity return to the same nesting sites every year where they brood two clutches of chicks. By the way, barn swallows use also the same nests and rebuild them so removing the nest will not stop them from returning.

The swallows around here migrate to either Central or South America and the migration begins about late July. By August most of them around our lake are gone.

Swallows eat bugs, they swoop in and out of trees, skim the surface of the lake and they are like acrobatic bug vacuum cleaners. Thanks to them we really don’t have much of a mosquito problem in the wilds of Tschida.

Anyway, the swallows have been gathering along the fence and power lines -- it’s not unusual to drive through a cloud of them. The sad part about their departure is that it’s a good indicator that summer has passed the halfway mark, so take advantage of what’s left of it.

Then there’s the geese and their goslings early each morning as they look like an armada of geese swimming up the bay. The parents’ necks are much longer than their chicks so you can tell they’re in charge as they herd their flock along.

The goslings grow really fast -- a couple weeks ago they looked like the chicks you buy at Runnings. Now they’re much bigger but they still follow one behind the other behind the other behind mom.

This morning I counted four sets of parents and over 30 goslings as they came up the bay and landed on our beach. Geese don’t walk real good; they waddle toward the nearest lawn to feast and defecate.

Thus, the geese are really cool as long as they’re munching on someone else’s lawn. I say this from experience as once upon a time I slipped on their fecal matter and fell into the muddy part of our bay.

The ducks use our neighborhood as a breeding ground and have left the area with their ducklings but the turkeys passed through with their brood yesterday morning.

Both my loyal readers know we have turkeys in town, so they’re not too surprised to hear that I seem to be constantly surrounded by them which makes it really tough to soar like an eagle, but I digress.

So how’s fishing? Well, I caught a 2.5-pound smallmouth on a grandkid’s Princess Zebco rod which was fun, so I guess I must have quit while I was ahead.

So back to where I started, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed that you have experienced a prime example of doing nothing and not being done by bedtime.

Here’s hoping that you always feel like you’re doing something even though it seems like nothing.

Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.


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