Yesterday we enjoyed a walk with friends around Hurst Green. We passed Stonyhurst College where JRR Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings. It's a beautiful old building surrounded by picturesque rolling hills. Most of the boarders seemed to be outside enjoying cricket in the sun - a lovely day for it.
Part of the route follows the River Ribble and I was delighted to find a busy colony of sand martins in a bank where the Calder joins the Ribble. They were flying around catching invertebrates and occasionally returning to their burrows.
They typically nest in sandy banks, quarries or cliffs near water where they burrow out holes. Their population is prone to crashing due to droughts in their African wintering grounds so I was heartened to see them here. I wonder how safe their nests are being so close to potential flooding.... Let's hope they enjoy a successful breeding season.
And a little further along, I saw my first swift this year, two in fact. The only Hirundinidae I haven't seen so far this year is house martin - maybe tomorrow?
The photo of Stonyhurst College was copied from their website: www.stonyhurst.ac.uk
The sand martin photo has been used by kind permission of Andy Bright www.Digiscoped.com See the links in the side bar to more of his photos - well worth a visit.
Click on the photos to enlarge.