I really wasn't expecting to see a Sand Martin this year. Like Swifts, Swallows and House Martins they're migrating birds, staying here for the Summer before travelling back to Africa for the Winter. I've seen no Swifts at all now for a couple of weeks, and I assumed I'd missed all the Sand Martins as well. Luckily, this one clearly hadn't decided to head back and he was busily darting above the first lake looking for insects to prepare him for his long flight south.
According to the RSPB's website, they can actually stay as late as October, so I needn't have fretted so much. It's our smallest Hirundine, and a lovely brown in colour with a white rump and stomach (the House Martin is blue). It's quite a gregarious bird, which is why I found it strange to be on its own. Still it seemed quite happy and was having a field day wheeling through the sky in search of morsals to eat. It's a fast bird, so I was having trouble getting good shots, but I have a few I'm happy with, although they're clearly record shots.
This is a 100% crop, but you can clearly see the brown wings and white underbelly.
Slightly blurrier this time.
And a final shot.
So that's it for the week, bringing my total up to 103 birds with 169 left to find!
Here's a few of the other birds I spotted on my walk.
Coots were absolutely everywhere and there were still youngsters around.
I was treated to a flyby by a Tufted Duck.
While this one still had youngsters.
Canada Geese rested on the island.
Mallards are now in their eclipse plumage (male on left).
A pair of Great Crested Grebes were out fishing.
A Mute Swan decides to gatecrash.
While a Coot makes a clumsy take off.