Forty years ago, before I was even a teenager, I started keeping detailed nature notebooks. A lined notepad and a blue biro, a set of pencil crayons and a manual film camera were all I needed. That and regular Monday night trips out with retired gentlemen from the local microscopical and natural history society dressed in tweeds smoking their stinking briar pipes. Here’s my entry for Sand Martins:
It was such a thrill to see them again in 2017:
This time I had a 36 megapixel digital camera with GPS and a 500mm telephoto lens with me instead of a notebook and biro. How times change.
Linnaeus wrote about Sand Martins in his Systema naturae in 1758: Habitat in Europae collibus arenosis abruptis, foramine serpentino “It lives in Europe, in winding holes in sheer sandy hills”
In the past 50 years the European population of Sand Martins has collapsed twice because of drought in their African winter homes. Here’s the international distribution of Sand Martins:
They are under pressure in the UK from habitat loss.
Accessed here: https://blx1.bto.org/atlases/SM-comp.html
Like many birds they are dependent upon a wide range of habitats and move about the globe over the year to what we primitive, tribal humans think are different countries.
The population estimated by Birdlife International is somewhere between 10,000,000-500,000,000 (factsheet here)
How many will there be in another 40 years?