Returning Sand Martin to North Antrim
Spring is well under way in North Antrim with unseasonably high temperatures in the low twenties Celsius. This has brought with a massive increase in migrant birds moving north and breeding activity in resident birds.
In the space of only a few days dozens of Sand Martins have arrived at colony I discovered last year. Straight away they have started digging into the soils at this cliff top site, whilst others chase each, scrabbling in mid-flight as pair bounds are formed as they try to make the most of our spring and summer, before wintering back in Africa.
House Martins and Swallows are now abundant in the skies around Ballycastle, whilst every patch of scrub which remains seems to have at least one Willow Warbler singing. Occasionally in the more dense cover a Blackcap can be heard singing.
Still to arrive this far north are the Cuckoos, Swifts and Wood Warblers which all add to the summer in the Antrim Glens.
I managed to get a hour this week to stand on a bridge just outside Ballycastle and watch a Dipper busily going about its business, showing signs of beginning the process of nest building nearby. This is a species I will hopefully be photographing in the next few weeks if I can find a suitable site.