Please don’t tickle this Sand Martin. If you do it’s likely to splutter flies everywhere from cheeks bursting with them.
Seriously, birds aren’t recognisably ticklish but they do love a scratch and a preen on places they can’t reach themselves. I can see many flies in this one’s chicks’ next meal, although one insect hasn’t quite been caught and looks as if it’s making a bid for freedom.
Beautiful birds, aren’t they?
There seem to be many more Sand Martins here on Westray this year and I’ve found a couple of breeding sites which are new to me. I’m feeling encouraged.