Bird Watch – Sand Martins Move to Guiseley, by Darren Shepherd

Sand Martin (Source: Shropshire Wildlife Trust)

Well,  today I had a nice surprise.   I went to have a  quick look at the stone quarry at the top of Moor Lane in Guiseley,  only a stones throw from the park as the crow flies, and was amazed to see that the “sand martins” (riparia riparia) have returned from their long migration from Africa.  The sand martin is the smallest of the hirundines (swallows and martins) and the first to return from Africa.

If anybody would like to see them,  just park in the lay-by, then stand at the entrance gates and look to the right up the banking side (parallel with the farm track). This is where the sand martins raise their young,  in a “hole”in the sand bank.  We are very lucky to have these birds in Guiseley and it is the only nest site here.  It is also unusual that it is not near a river bank or lake,which is normally the favoured location. Look out for them feeding over the park.  Nature really is amazing.

About Jennifer Inskip Kirkby

Director and Vice Chair of Friends of Parkinson's Park CIC, Chair of Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum and Facilitator of Inskip One-Name Study. Has a degree in Local History (University of Cambridge), and Economics (University of Leeds). Now retired after a career as a Business Analyst and Advisor.
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