Sand Martin

The Sand Martin is not only our smallest swallow, it’s also the swallow that, compared to other swallows, arrives the earliest in Springtime. You would already see these amusing birds in March...

These sand lovers make their nests in sand hills. Not much is needed; even a small pile of sand is enough for these birds to make their nests. They only need a steep face of at least one meter.

They like to build their nests in groups. Once they have found a suitable area, they start, together with other couples, to hole their nests. These nests in the sand are vulnerable. They tend to be located on sites with many activities. When a builder doesn’t notice the birds, their nests are easily destroyed.  Therefore, birdwatchers have been asked to report a colony of Sand Martins to builders due to them being protected birds. It’s also possible that passers-by unknowingly walk on the sand hill and through this the nests could collapse. Lastly, there are also nest robbers, like Magpies and maybe Kestrels; they make a sport of digging out the nests and eating the young birds.

I found a colony of Sand Martins in the Rottemerengebied during the breeding season of 2016. I set up my hide for several days nearby this colony in order to observe the behaviour of the birds and to take pictures of them, which led to this series of photographs.

To observe 'my' Sand Martins from a safe distance, I used the Eden binoculars XP 10x56. In this way I could estimate when the young birds would fledge and when I'd have to set up my hide. These binoculars are somewhat larger (and therefore somewhat heavier) than the Eden binoculars XP10x42 that I tested previously. Due to the larger size, it fits comfortably in your hand. The quality of these binoculars is remarkably good:

The field of vision is quite wide, which helps to catch sight of a bird. The view is clear and sharp, also in the edges, which provides a stable view and is nice when watching. The contrasts and colours are displayed realistically. These binoculars are a pleasure to look through, even after a morning of intensive use. The performance at dusk is good too. I wear glasses myself, but that doesn't matter. These binoculars are no less than binoculars from the top shelf which is surprising, especially considering the price tag (€ 389,-)...