Saturday, June 4, 2022

Martins And More

Sand Martins arrived late from North Africa this year. Cold northerlies and cool temperatures throughout April and May saw few at the Cockerham colony and those that did find their way didn’t seem to hang around long. 

The quarry faces north and the Sand Martin’s tunnels look out in the same direction whereby there is no warming sun until late in the morning. Insects might be in short supply and perhaps this site is not a favoured one when newly arrived birds are free to fly off and find a more suitable location? 

Whatever the reasons, probably a combination of many, the land owner Chris phoned me mid-May to ask “Where are my Sand Martins?” Although I was in Greece at the time I was able to reassure him that the martins would be along soon but warned of a late breeding season but one where a “proper” summer might enable the birds to catch up somewhat. 

During the last week we waited for a suitable morning which finally arrived on Saturday. I met up with Andy and Will at 0630 at the colony where we set a single net to see how the martins were doing. We estimated around 80/100 birds present of which we managed a catch of 41 new ones and 1 recapture from 2021. All of the catch were adult birds, 23 males and 19 females.

The catch included "8911708 Museum Paris", a Sand Martin bearing a French ring. Almost certainly this was ringed in the vast reed-beds of Loire Atlantique. 

Sand Martin

Field Sheet - 4 June 2022

Museum Paris 8911708

We’ll visit again at the month end and see if the Sand Martins caught up with their late start and to estimate how many young they rear. Other birds this morning - Kestrel, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Pied Wagtail, 3 Oystercatcher. 

Great Crested Grebe

Meanwhile Friend Steve has both Kestrels and Barn Owls at his home. While the Kestrel camera is working fine, the Barn Owl camera is on the blink, which means a trip up the ladder to determine where the owls are at.


Back home there’s a Dunnock in the garden sitting on five eggs that are probably quite close to hatching. 

Dunnock Nest

There's more news, views and photos soon at Another Bird Blog. 

Linking today to Eileen's Blogspot and Anni in Texas.



eileeninmd said...

It is good to see the Sand Martins returning, they are sweet birds.
The Kestrel with it's young is a great capture. I hope they can get the owl camera working. The Great Crested Grebe is beautiful. The Dunnock's blue eggs are a beautiful blue color. Great series of photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your weekend!

Jenn Jilks said...

It's always a relief when the critters return, isn't it!
I am fascinated with your banding and tracking. Good work.

Shiju Sugunan said...

I too noticed a long migratory season this year. We had a lot of nonseasonal rains that brought down the usual high temperatures. Happy to see the visitors staying back and enjoying the pleasant weather. I like the nest pic!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What beautiful blue eggs! And how neat to see the Martins return. The banded one was nice. I know you are happy to be out and about in your area. Hope you'll post more pics of Greece though! Happy weekend!

Fun60 said...

Good to hear of the return of the sand martins and the colour of those dunnocks' eggs was a surprise.

Anni said...

For my area of the world, it seemed a different migration season too. But that first image today is a prize!! As is the kestrel. Aren't those eggs a thrilling sight?

Thanks, as always, for stopping by and sharing your link with us!!

Linda said...

What cute little eggs!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

So interesting! The weather has been unusual in many areas and I believe it has affected birds' migration and reproduction. I've seen the same here in Colorado. We also had cases of avian flu in our area that mainly affected chickens.

NCSue said...

Wonderful series of images! Thank you so much for joining us at I always enjoy your visits and the wonderful photos and info you share.

Lowcarb team member said...

So nice to see the Dunnock nest and eggs, what a lovely colour the eggs are.

Hope you are having a good week, we had glorious sunshine this afternoon, so enjoyed a local walk.

All the best Jan

Veronica Lee said...

Loved the pretty blue eggs!

Thanks for yet another fabulous series of photos, Phil.

Happy Tuesday!

Rostrose said...

Dear Phil,
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the Sand Martins will have a good breeding year! And I am very happy that the Kestrels and Dunnocks have (or will have) chicks! :-) <3
All the best

Kristiina said...

I just love your photos and stories of birdies.

R. Täysin arkista vol.2

Wally Jones said...

Yes, I know I'm late.

Excellent news on the Sand Martins. Hey, they're late, too and you're not yelling at them!

As nesting season begins in earnest, we hope your ringing efforts will help provide information to those who need it. Our birds need help and YOU are definitely making a difference. Thank you.

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