First of all these photos aren't the sharpest, but I think they'll show you part of what we experienced on last Sunday's walk mentioned in this post here.
We came across about a dozen of them resting on tree branches on the side of our walking path. Normally we observe them flying over the water, catching bugs out of the air or flying right next to the surface where they will pick up water bugs presumably, or maybe they are drinking. One even caught a downy feather in mid air, one that had been dropped and quickly caught again, no doubt using it to line a nest. They have never stayed around long enough for me to get a photo of them as they have always been on the wing. You can imagine my surprise when we saw several of them just sitting still for a change.
The Barn Swallow has a long forked tail making it easy to identify among the North American swallows. It measures 5-1/2 to 7 inches long with pointed wings. It has a very short beak, and is dark blue above with a dark rusty throat. The rest of the underparts are a buff or pale rust color.
There was a nest in the eaves of the gazebo with two young swallows peaking over the edge. We didn't realize at first that mama had perched nearby and flew off shortly after we turned up, so we quickly took our photos and left them in peace.
The nest is a cup of mud pellets lined with grass and feathers. Both male and female build the nest.
The female lays three to eight eggs that are spotted with reddish brown.
The eggs are incubated for 14 to 16 days, and the young will leave the nest in 18 to 23 days.
Two broods a season may be attempted and Barn Swallows will return to the same nest season after season. If you would like to hear how they sound and find out more about them, click here.
In the last picture you can see another nest - top right - that of a mud dauber which is a type of wasp. If you click here it will show you what they look like and also give you some information.