The swallows and swifts which come back to Barga each spring after their long winter sojourn in warmer climes are once again in evidence but in reduced numbers this year.
Many people have noted that the birds have been seen not just flying low, generally thought to be a sign of impending bad weather, but also actually stopping their swooping flight and resting on the ground – something which does not happen all that often, according to local lore.
The cooler weather at the end of last month has meant that the insect population is also weeks behind its normal timespan and so there is some doubt as to just what the swallows are actually feeding on.
It turns out that the low level scavenging on the stones in Barga Vecchia is not with the idea of eating but rather the other main reason that the birds are here – making nests and breeding. They are scavenging for material to add to their nests.
There has been a particular group of swallows who nest each year under the Volta del Menchi below Palazzo Pancrazi in Barga Vecchia. Their acrobatic flying through the open arches and walkways in the Volta has been one of the glorious sights of Barga in the summer.
Later on in the summer we get to see their young swooping noisily around the Volta del Menchi and then soon after, the bitter sweet melancholy bit where they will sit in line on some of the wires strung through Barga Vecchia and then one morning they will all just disappear again.
The cycle repeats itself each year and never fails to amaze.