Yesterday we spent the day preparing the sand martin wall at Ibsley Water for the imminent arrival of the sand martins. The holes are cleaned out every year and refilled with fresh sand, this cleans out the nest parasites and allows the birds to dig a fresh tunnel, but it does involve quite a bit of work. Unsurprisingly the lake was very deep and waders were needed, which unfortunately meant cold toes.
Each hole has a small render lip that has to be removed, then the old nest is dragged out with the aid of the a wooden rod and metal hook, the remaining sand is rammed to the back of the metre long pipe with a fence post and phase one is complete. Then each hole needs to be filled almost to the end with new sand and a new lip of render made and fitted. We managed to complete the task in the record of time of just under 4 hours, I hope the sand martins will appreciate our efforts, I am really looking forward to seeing them return. A big thank you to everyone who helped out.