Sand Martin

A while ago I thought I was going to run out of new birds to post about, then a brief peek of sunshine and it all changes.  The insects came out and that brought a whole new batch of hungry birds passing through north on migration.  This week the first of the hirundines, the group of birds that contains Swallows and Martins (but not Swifts), I bring you the Sand Martin.

These birds are a bit scarcer than the Swallows and House Martins but behave in a similar way.  Often seen flying overhead as they migrate and feeding over watery areas like this one was.  Swallows are told apart by there blue sheen and long streaming tail feathers, as well as a creamy chest and red on the face.  Telling martins apart is a bit more tricky- there are slight colour differences but they are only of use with a very good view.  Sand Martins have a “necklace” of brown and a constant colouring to their uppersides.  House Martins have an all-white lower half as well as a white rump which shows well when they bank and turn in pursuit of their fly prey.

The plain back of a Sand Martin

But all in all its nice to watch all the Swifts, Martins and Swallows swoop around the farm buildings out here during a sunny evening.  And listening to the different chattering and shrieking calls makes a change from the rumbling of distant roads.

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