A large “sandcastle” has been constructed to encourage sand martins to nest at a nature reserve for the primary time in 25 years, Surrey Wildlife Belief stated.
The 400-tonne sand set up at Spynes Mere, close to Merstham, Surrey, was constructed with skilled sand sculptors who used a “large bucket mould” constituted of wood boards, in addition to the assistance of diggers and dumper vans.
The tiny 12 cm (5 inch) birds go to the character reserve after they migrate from sub-Saharan Africa annually, arriving from mid-March and feeding there till September, however they haven’t nested there for 25 years.
Now the 20-metre lengthy development will present a house for tons of of the birds to nest and lift their younger on the reserve.
It’s hoped that the size of the scheme on the nature reserve will allow the social birds to roost collectively and the curved vertical face of the brand new sand financial institution will permit them to peep out of the nest holes to seek out mates.
James Herd, undertaking supervisor at Surrey Wildlife Belief, stated: “Sand martin numbers have plummeted twice within the final 50 years because of droughts of their wintering grounds in Africa.
“Within the UK, the pure nesting inland habitat alongside river banks has decreased as rivers go by extra urbanised areas and beneath roads, and quarrying has ceased.
‘So creating this nest financial institution is vital to guard them in opposition to the increase and bust nature of their nesting websites and provides extra safety for the inhabitants to broaden.”
To create the nest financial institution, in a way much like utilizing a bucket and spade on a seashore however on a “grand scale”, Surrey Wildlife Belief labored with sand sculptors Sand in Your Eye to construct a number of 1.8 metre take a look at sandcastles in mid-January earlier than starting the principle development in February.
Jamie Wardley, sand sculptor and director of Sand in Your Eye stated: “Now we have solely used sand from the location to create the 20 metre-long by 5 metres deep and 1.8 metre excessive construction from a large bucket mould constituted of wood boards.
“We added water to create the correct mix, compacted the sand, and three to 4 weeks later the boards have been eliminated.
“The brand new ‘des res’ is now prepared for sand martins to maneuver in, leaving nature and the sand martins to do the work of sculpting tons of of nesting burrows.”
Website supervisor Nick Allman stated sand martins appreciated to nest in energetic extraction websites due to their contemporary vertical sand faces, but when nesting birds have been discovered it pressured work to cease.
“The sand martin financial institution is a method of naturally drawing them away from the energetic websites to the place it’s safer for them to nest,” he stated.
New vertical faces carved out of the pure sandscape and the nest financial institution collectively present 100 sq. metres for sand martin properties in addition to habitat for bugs equivalent to solitary wasps and bees, Surrey Wildlife Belief stated.
As much as a metre of the sandbanks might be shaved off the face yearly to chop down on nest parasites, and after 5 or 6 years sand might be recycled to rebuild the financial institution so it may present a long-lasting residence for the birds.