CBC Chat Forum Thread

AuthorTopic: Sand Martins breeding in the Cley Square.
Noel Elms Sand Martins breeding in the Cley Square.posted at 23/07/2013 15:38:53
  (Noel Elms) (57542 bytes)

After browsing through the on-line CBC database earlier in the year and finding no  breeding records for Sand Martin (though data prior to 2012 has yet to be entered I believe), I was interested to receive a report from John Furse in mid-June that Sand Martins were occupying nest holes in the seaward side of Gramborough Hill, Salthouse. It would appear that over the previous winter, part of the hill top had  collapsed on to the shingle below to leave an almost vertical sand face which was clearly to the birds liking. When I paid my first visit to the colony on 20th June, at least 10 nest holes were active and a rough count gave  three times that number as being recently excavated but not yet containing young.  Michael Sweeny visited the colony 6 days later and counted over 100 excavations though not all of these would have been completed and he notes that only 12 holes were active on that date. Subsequently, John Miller reported 40 active nest holes on 16th July which could confirm my original estimate of the size of the colony.

To the student of bird behaviour and breeding biology in particular, Sand Martin colonies provide an endless source of knowledge. Quite apart from the martins themselves, the nest holes provide ready-made accommodation for other bird and mammal species and also attract a wide range of both avian and mammalian predators. After the national Sand Martin Enquiry held in the 60s, Mead and Peplar published a Note in British Birds which  gives a comprehensive list of predators and parasites found at colonies during the Enquiry 

To those who may not find bird behaviour of the greatest interest, may I suggest they take the time to read the Note and experience in Chris Mead, a master communicator at work whose untimely death at the age of 62 in 2003 left a gap yet to be filled.

NOTE: I'm told that the CBC website cannot link directly to material available on the internet so the link below will have to be copied to your Browser. I'm on very thin ice here, hope it makes sense!!


Dave Curtis Re: Sand Martins breeding in the Cley Square.posted at 25/07/2013 18:39:37

The link works OK when copied into the address bar Noel.  Thanks for this.


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