Sand martin nest site

Due to some local building works a quantity of excavated sand was dumped near the reserve. I didn’t want this to go to waste so the builders and my landlord farmer were happy for me to use the sand.

We have ringed Sand Martin on site during last years ringing sessions so I decided to attempt to construct my own nesting embankment. So hopefully if they visit the site they may choose to stay.

I built a containment structure for the sand.

The initial idea was to surround this enclosure with soil prior to filling with sand. This plan, however, had to change when my friendly farmer(David Dungait) had a big digger with driver available to move the sand. I didn’t want to miss this opportunity so we got our sand a bit earlier than I was prepared for!

So then the next step is to build up the banking around the sand, top this with soil and cut a vertical sand face at the front. Then we’ll put in 12 nesting tunnels (drainpipe) they need to be at least 60cm long and filled with sand with a nesting chamber at the end.

Due to the weather, snow stopped work, this project is on hold. Hopefully when the weather relents we can continue on.

Although we haven’t quite got to the finishing cover of soil our nesting bank I now ready to accept residents. We had a small group of 8 swallows over the pond in the last few days so hopefully the Sand Martin’s will not be too far behind.

Ethan and Jake from Collingwood school helping prepare the front of the bank.
Nest holes need to be at least a metre above ground to prevent predators.
Paving slabs to prevent sand front slippage.

Final landscaping may have to wait until after the nesting season. So it will be interesting to see if we get any takers this season!

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