We'd seperately been keeping a half cocked ear for them for the last few days and today, we reluctantly agreed... yes, they have left.
The swallows are still about, flitting around, getting their maps and travel plans ready and it wont be long before they all start congregating on 'phone lines and organising their day of departure.
I miss the screaming parties of swifts as they cut through the sky above our heads at phenomenal speeds. These birds are, to me the spirit of summer. When they go, summer goes too.
Another animal that has a hold over me is the wild brown hare. Secretive and wary, it is a magical moment when you come across, however fleeting, a hare quietly getting on with it's own life.
Last week, during a rather long and very warm walk, (over ten miles in the end) we came across this special moment.
We stood for a moment, stunned by this precious moment. Then continued with our walk, only this time we had a bit more oomph in our step and our conversation has returned and was filled with what we had just seen.
Now, as I type this, sitting at home, I can still feel the heat of that day, taste the dust and smell the ripening grain crops in the fields and the hot pine tree resin scents that surrounded us.