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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

14 June, 2010

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

In the Purbeck district of Dorset the heath areas around Wareham and Crossways are subject to considerable mineral extraction work. Whilst this destroys valuable wild habitat it actually creates a completely new one, large man-made lakes with sandy or gravel walls, ideal nesting for Sand Martins.

The two rivers, the Frome and Piddle run past Wareham and into Poole Harbour and on summer evenings we can see dozens of Sand Martins 'fishing' for insects above the flowing rivers, usually accompanied by House Martins.

Photographing these birds is a real challenge as they fly so swiftly; twisting, turning, swooping. You just get a brief chance when they decide to land on something like this one did. I am sure (s)he didn't need a rest but obviously had some motive for sitting on the fence.

Sadly, all too soon, they will be gone for another year but we still have a couple of months left to enjoy them