Vinny's picture

Sand Martin

Observed: 12th May 2010 By: VinnyVinny’s reputation in BirdsVinny’s reputation in BirdsVinny’s reputation in Birds

Sand Martins at their artificial nest holes. There used to be a huge colony near to this site, but it was wiped out by human encroachment and erosion of the sandbank. These holes were constructed a few years ago on the edge of a lake, and have been a huge success, with over 400 birds nesting this year. Note how they use their tails for stability when perching on the edge of the hole - a bit like a woodpecker.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Kluut's picture

Nest sites

There used to be almost countless sand martins within a few miles of my childhood home in Colchester.
After WW2 huge areas of Essex were quarried for sand and gravel (as was Norfolk in particular), and there was no requirement for them to be filled/recalimed when extraction ended. With such poor soil, colonisation of the worked-out pits by any plants was very slow so that until the 70's vast numbers of quarries existed with barren sandy cliffs (and very often excellent fishing in the flooded bottom of the quarry).
Law changes, time and man's insatiable demand for landfill sites has all but eliminated them now - the nesting cliffs and the birds.