Swifts at twilight

Each year, the arrival of the swifts at the Yeovil Country Park Riverside Walk coincides perfectly with the eruption of millions of gnats from the truncated fir trees masking the entrance path from the sewage works – and what better reward for thousands of miles of migration than a seemingly endless feast? The swifts usually arrive in early May, sometimes more than a month after the house martins and the swallows, but they always seem to arrive just when the gnats are at their peak, swooping high up into the murmurating clouds of insects and then so low you could almost touch them, if you could only reach out quickly enough. In the past they have always defied photography – mine at least! – but this time I had a plan, with manual focus and a decent depth of field being the name of the game, and waited, and hoped, aiming at one particular spot, until finally these two flew through shot at just the right distance for me to capture them, and their prey, silhouetted against the fading spring light.

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