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Sand Martin: the hole in the wall gang

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Sand Martin: the hole in the wall gang

In the Purbeck district of Dorset the area between Wareham and Crossways are subject to considerable mineral extraction work. Whilst this destroys valuable heathland habitat it actually creates a completely new one; large man-made lakes with sandy or gravel walls, ideal nesting sites for sand martins (Riparia riparia).

The two rivers, the Frome and Piddle (or Trent) run past Wareham and into Poole Harbour and on summer evenings we can see dozens of sand martins 'fishing' for insects above the flowing rivers, usually accompanied by house martins.

Photographing these birds is a real challenge as they fly so swiftly; twisting, turning, swooping. You just get a brief chance when they decide to land on something like this one did. I am sure (s)he didn't need a rest but obviously had some motive for sitting on the fence.

They are, like their cousins, summer visitors and sadly, all too soon, they are gone for another year.



This is just my nature note: for lots more information including distribution maps, status charts, identification guidance and more photographs go to the species home page by clicking/tapping the icon