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Bespoke nesting cabinets for sand martins

Stanford Ringing Group volunteers

Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund grant enables rare sand martins to nest easy at Stanford Reservoir

RARE sand martins will be allowed to nest easy following a grant from the Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund to build bespoke nesting cabinets at Stanford Reservoir, near Rugby.

The £5,700 grant has allowed the Stanford Ringing Group (SRG) to establish a new 10 sq m nesting area at the reservoir, comprising two large nesting cabinets with accommodation for 96 nests and a new area planted with invertebrate-friendly flower species.

The project aims to encourage sand martins – a threatened species in the UK – to return to the area to breed, and boosts biodiversity, especially for butterflies.

Each year, sand martins return to breed in vertical sandy banks at, for example, quarries and even golf courses, but they have become scarce around Stanford Reservoir.

Peter Norrie of the SRG said: ‘We really look forward to having sand martin using these cabinets and are sure that all visitors will enjoy the sight of breeding sand martins swooping over the water at Stanford in 2022.’

Jamie Prpa, manager at the nearby Tarmac Cotesbach landfill site, added: ‘It’s such a shame that this bird species is in decline. We, at Tarmac, very much hope that this grant will make a real difference and encourage these birds back to this area to breed. We look forward to hearing how busy the nesting cabinets are in spring.’

The SRG has been based at the reservoir for more than 40 years. Conservation work is carried out from January through to March, when the birds begin nesting.

The group – with the help of local naturalists and bird watchers – will maintain the site and ring the juvenile birds, providing valuable conservation data for the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

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