As part of the creation of a new UK Mail facility at the Prologis Park Ryton, our client Prologis had created a temporary borrow pit as part of the works and inadvertently, created the perfect new home for a colony of Sand Martins Riparia riparia which moved in and successfully bred (2015). The birds were left to nest in peace after a wide exclusion zone was implemented but realising that the site was on the birds’ migration route together with the fact that the borrow pit couldn’t stay on site long-term, we worked with Prologis, Whiting Landscapes and the park rangers at nearby Ryton Pools Country Park to create a brand new permanent and purpose-built nesting site in this 100 acre site managed jointly between Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. The Sand Martin nesting wall was completed in March 2016 and this year has already had a couple of pairs taking an interest.
As well as providing a large and safe nesting habitat, the 15m long structure also has a number of pre-formed swallow nest sites and a rear door inspection hatch so that the rangers can keep an eye on the nesting progress and carry out any necessary maintenance. To prevent predation by other wildlife such as stoats, an anti-predator baffle has been installed below the tunnels which have been constructed of plastic pipes. We also helped create the new information board which has been installed opposite the nesting wall to inform the local visitors to the country park about the new nesting site. It’s hoped that grizzled skipper butterflies will also benefit from the new structure as one of the food plants of the larvae stage – strawberries – are to be planted on the aggregate roof in the near future!
Sand Martins are gregarious and therefore tend to nest in large colonies. They are Europe’s smallest hirundine (martins and swallows) and the insectivorous birds are summer visitors to the UK, over-wintering in Africa. To find out more about our nesting bird surveys, take a look at our services page.