20 March 2018

Swansea Vale Sand Martin colony restored

Sean Hathaway, Environment Officer for Swansea Council, led works to restore the Sand Martin colony at Swansea Vale over the winter period. The site has been used since about 1996, the year after the holes were installed by the council when the road/embankment went in, directly opposite an eroding sand bank they previously used to nest in. This artificial urban site (which comprises three groups of holes totalling 47) was in serious risk of being completely overgrown by willows and brambles. These were cleared in October 2017 to provide the martins a clear flight path into the nest holes and to reduce the risk from predators. Further works carried out in February 2018 included the removal of old sand and debris, treatment with an insecticide to rid the nest chambers of parasites, which were then refilled with clean sand.  
Despite the freezing weather, the first Sand Martins have already arrived in the county and hopefully this urban colony will benefit from the excellent work undertaken by Sean and his team.  Excellent views of what will hopefully be a busy colony can be enjoyed from the Swansea Vale footpath at SS67589877. Also keep an eye open for Goosanders and Dippers which are also frequent here.