Wildlife Trust hails unique sand martin nesting bank and viewing hide a success | News | Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
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Wildlife Trust hails unique sand martin nesting bank and viewing hide a success

Tuesday 23rd September

Wildlife Trust hails unique sand martin nesting bank and viewing hide a success

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has hailed the construction of a unique sand martin nesting bank and viewing hide at its Attenborough Nature Reserve, near Nottingham, as a major success following analysis of the season’s breeding records.

Construction work on the hide was completed at the end of March, just as the birds were returning from over-wintering in Africa and the wildlife charity feared that the new nesting bank would be over-looked by the birds this year. However, birds soon began investigating the artificial nesting chambers which were created by setting clay pipes into a wall and then filling them with sand to mimic the bird’s natural nesting habitat.

Whilst there are a number of sand martin hides and artificial nesting banks across the UK, the Wildlife Trust believes that this is the first building to combine the two.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the hide provides nesting opportunities for up to 150 pairs of sand martins. The integrated ‘sunken’ bird hide enables visitors to watch the sand martins at close quarters as they feed over the water and return to their nests.Footage from cameras installed in a number of the nesting chambers was shown in the Attenborough Nature Centre throughout the summer and the hide was featured on BBC’s Springwatch programme.

In May a British Trust for Ornithology nest check conducted by the South Notts Ringing Group identified 34 active nests and further survey work through the season has confirmed that a total of 37 nest chambers were utilised and that 3 nests successfully raised chicks. 7 chicks fledged and were ringed as part of ongoing monitoring work.

Speaking about the success, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Tim Sexton who designed the building said:

“Considering the birds were arriving whilst the builders were still on site we didn’t think the structure would be used at all in its first year. Now that we’ve had birds successfully use the nesting chambers we known that the design is right and we are all looking forward with great excitement to next year. “

Over the Wildlife Trust will refill the nesting tunnels and chambers with sand in preparation for the sand martin’s return in March 2015.

Mr Sexton added: “Our aim here at Attenborough is to provide wildlife with a safe haven and to give people unique opportunities to discover and learn about the wildlife on their doorstep. Our sand martin hide is a great example of how protecting and promoting wildlife can go hand in hand and we can’t wait for the sand martins to return from Africa next spring and take up residence once again.”

A video showing birds in the hide and behind the scenes footage of the bird ringing programme can be found here

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