Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Another Bag Of Smarties

Tuesday morning 0630. I met up with Andy at Cockerham quarry where we hoped to catch up with Sand Martins (Smarties). It had been too long since the last visit but an unavoidable break in our plans - Last time.

On that occasion we caught 63 new Sand Martins, all of them adults, late May being too early for any young martins to be around. We did slightly better this morning by way of 67 Sand Martins, 57 of them new to us plus 8 recaptures from earlier this year and 2 from 2017. 

Of the 57 new, 40 proved to be adults, split 50/50 male/female together with 17 fresh juveniles. The colony seemed to be well on with their second brood, some females in the throes of egg laying. 

Sand Martin - juvenile 

Sand Martin - adult 

We’d finished our work by 9 o'clock so I went up to Glasson and Conder for a quick check. Fresh arrivals at Conder Green were a party of 4 Avocets, more Little Egrets than of late (6) and also 2 Greenshank. There are still 180+ Redshank. The four Avocets spent ten or fifteen minutes making a lot of noise before they flew off west, leaving the summering singleton but territorial Avocet behind. 

Little Egret

A single pair of Common Terns continues to feed young, 2 chicks on the pontoon, one on the island.  

Meanwhile I up at Glasson Dock I found the pair of terns, the ones that bred successfully very close by. 

Common Tern 

Common Tern 

Common Tern 

That all for today folks. Don’t forget,  tomorrow’s post will see a review of Unnatural Selection.

Linking today with World Bird Wednesday


  1. Love the Sand Martins and the Common Terns. The Little Egret is pretty. Wonderful photos. Enjoy your day and week ahead!

  2. Have to say my favourite is The Little Egret :)

    All the best Jan

  3. Sand Martins hold a special interest for me right now. They are experiencing population declines that verge on alarming. I am involved in the weekly monitoring of an artificial structure designed to attract nesting birds. For the second year in a row, however, this has been a failure. I have finally, after certain difficulties, secured the permission of a local farmer who has a sizeable colony on his property, to visit it this morning, and I will try to assess what characters about that population might be helpful in other situations. I am not sure whether this species is especially prone to disturbance, but the farmer mentioned that a few years ago he permitted some “university people” to “interfere” with his birds, and for the following two years hardly any came back. Therein lies his initial reluctance to let me even get anywhere close to the birds. He appears to be a good steward of the Sand Martins and that is encouraging. Sorry to make this comment all about MY situation, but it is your ongoing excellent work with the species that triggered this narrative. Have a great day, Phil.

  4. Phil - what a coincidence that we should both post about Sand Martins/Bank Swallows. I am pleased to report that there does not appear to be any sort of decline in their populations here! Enjoy your weekend! (By the way, my in-laws are having a spectacular time on their holiday!)


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