Sand Martins on the Mersey

Sand Martin excavating a nesting hole
Another warm sunny day ideal weather for a bike ride down the Transpennine Trail to check out the local Sand Martins. Fortunately over the winter part of the river bank collapsed exposing a fresh, sandy cliff – ideal for a new breeding colony.
Sand Martin perched on the edge of a nesting hole.
Sand Martins and shadows
Previous efforts to photograph the Sand Martins have resulted in failure. However this time with bright sunshine I was able to choose a faster shutter speed.
Squabbling at the entrance to a nesting hole
Just to make the challenge a little more interesting the Sand Martins had chosen to excavate their nesting burrows in the far riverbank. With it being in the breeding season attempting to get any closer than standing on the opposite bank behind the trees would risk disturbance.
Male Sand Martins fighting for a nesting hole and the right to breed.
Spending a couple of hours watching the Sand Martin colony proved to be fascinating. So much activity going on from excavating burrows, constant flycatching, preening, squabbling, pulling each other out of nesting holes. In addition a male Kingfisher repeatedly flew past and a Dipper that now breed on the upper reaches of the Mersey.
An uninvited guest being chased away
A rare peaceful moment
Another intruder being chased away
Nesting holes along the top of the sandy cliff face.
Hopefully the sandy cliff face will prove too much of a challenge for the local Mink!


2 Replies to “Sand Martins on the Mersey”

  1. I have a fascination with the sand martins on the Mersey near where I live, the Didsbury/Heaton Mersey boundary, near Burnage Rugby club and the Galleon/Waterside leisure centre. They are just arriving in the last couple of weeks (14/04/2020). They nest in the bank opposite the rugby club; and near the leisure centre there used to be a high sandy bank, but when that was demolished two years ago an artificial nest site was installed. I’d love to know who put it there and who monitors it, as it is clearly designed for access and recording.
    Thanks for your great photos. Where were they taken?

    1. Hi Alan

      Photo’s were taken from the riverbank next to the Waterside Leisure Club car park. Unfortunately not yet had chance to visit yet this year however activity downstream near Chorlton and Sale Water Park has really picked up since the weekend. Normally a few pairs also down near Banky Meadows.

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