Photographing birds in flight is far from easy,  poses quite a challenge and can be very frustrating when trying to capture the perfect image.

Slow-flying species such as herons and gulls are comparatively easy perhaps but fast-flying swifts, swallows, kingfishers and similar species are a different matter.

Therefore I was delighted to capture this image of a male swallow just having fed its second brood and turning to fly out and head back to the river along Kingston towpath. My technique was to stand some way from the nest focus the camera on it with finger poised on the shutter while a friend alerted me as soon as the parent bird flew in. I then had a split second to press the shutter and hope as the swallow arrived at the nest for a brief visit and its speed in flight is breath taking.

Swallows are indeed my favourite birds to study and this summer has proved to be a good one for them.

They may produce even three broods in a favourable year and will return to their old haunts year after year seemingly quite at ease with people thronging the towpath on a hot summer's day.

They will remain with us until September and then undertake their hazardous 6000 mile flight back to South Africa.