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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!

15 June, 2016

House Martin: a white wash



Although less common than it once was the house martin (Delichon urbicum) is still a familiar site around human settlements in summer as it has adopted our houses as its preferred nest site. Strangely, it tends to be houses with white walls that they choose. They like to build their nests up under the gutters and soffits and usually on houses rather than bungalows.
The house martin is, of course, one of our summer visitors arriving back here in April from its wintering grounds in Africa. It breeds here because of the abundant supply of insects we have in this country, before setting off back south again in September. They migrate south in large flocks and thousands can be seen over Duration in autumn. The numbers build up during the day as they reach open water and so stop to feed up before setting off at first light across the channel.  
Martins are often seen in the company of swallows and can be a bit difficult to tell apart but, in general, they feed at a higher level than swallows and that is a pretty good guide.
House Martin: a white wash