Sand martins make an amazing journey every winter from the Sahara to the UK, to breed in piles of sand. This year, every CEMEX UK quarry will be creating the sheer banks of sand that sand martins love to make their homes in.
As well as the creation of the sand banks, CEMEX in partnership with the RSPB is launching a sand martin awareness campaign with an advice sheet to help quarry site managers accommodate this protected species.
Sand martins live in colonies, sometimes with over 100 pairs breeding on a single site. CEMEX and the RSPB have put together a management plan to ensure that all 60 quarries have suitable nesting sites available for this year’s imminent return.
As well as providing sheer sand banks, the quarries will ensure that the birds are not located close to the main operations and are also inaccessible to predators.
CEMEX’s Rugeley Quarry, near Cannock Chase in the West Midlands has created a suitable environment for the sand martin every year “ What a spectacular sight it will be as these small birds arrive at Rugeley in the next weeks having flown all the way from the Sahara.
“Every year many come to the site and this year the sand pile is being placed close to Bevin’s Birches a restored area where it will be quiet. I’m sure our sand is as good for house building as that found in the Sahara“ comments Gareth Fenna. The UK sand martin population has seen a noticeable decline in recent years, possibly due to the droughts in their winter feeding areas. These birds, like their more common ‘cousins’, swallows and house martins, undertake an amazing migration every winter, flying thousands of miles.
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