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Sand Martin Wall Streams Live
photo - Paul Harris
Nature fans have the opportunity to follow a live webcam of a Sand martin Wall at Gouthwaite reservoir in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Sarah Kettlewell, Manager at Nidderdale AONB, said:
“If you love the live webcams familiar to BBC Springwatch fans, now is the time to tune-in. We’ll be streaming the Sand martins in action until August on our live stream.”

The artificial Sand martin nesting wall was built in 2014 to replace a natural Sand martin bank that was lost through flooding.

Sand martins are summer visitors to the UK. They are one of the first spring migrants to appear, arriving mid-March to mid-April, with late arrivals up until June. Many birds die of thirst and exhaustion before they arrive on Britain's shores, where they nest in order to raise their young in the spring.

Sarah added:
“It is vital their nests are protected so bird populations can continue to call Britain home. Nidderdale Birdwatchers have been monitoring the nesting wall and we’re all delighted that Sand martins have nested there every spring since construction. Recent counts suggest around 30 are currently nesting in the wall.”

The wall is a legacy of the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership, a three-year programme that was supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Partnership, whose work is continued by the team at Nidderdale AONB, worked to get people involved in the historic landscapes, cultural heritage and wildlife habitats in the region.

Sand martins are very gregarious and nest in colonies, which may contain more than 100 pairs. They excavate tunnels in sandy, dry vertical banks in sand pits and gravel pits, railway cuttings, riverbanks and sea-cliffs, and sometimes in holes in brickwork.

Both males and females make a horizontal tunnel 45-90 cm long with a chamber at the end. Suitable sites may be used for years. After laying eggs in late May or early June, incubation lasts for about 14 days. All eggs hatch at the same time.

Sand martins and their active nests are fully protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The young fledge at 19-24 days old. The birds depart the British Isles from late July to September. Most are thought to winter in the Sahel, the zone south of Sahara.

Sarah added:
“If you want to go and view the wall then the best place to is to walk from Ramsgill to Bouthwaite and then turn right onto the track that leads back towards Wath on the far side of the reservoir. There is a viewing area with a seat on the right hand side of the track that offers a good view across Gouthwaite Reservoir to the Sand martin wall. Take your binoculars – the sand martins are usually in-situ from late March to June.”

Watch the Sand martin Wall live at http://uppernidderdale.org.uk/wildlife-farming/live-stream-at-sand-martin-wall/

Sand Martin Wall Streams Live, 8th May 2019, 18:48 PM