It was last summer that I first noticed sand martins (Riparia riparia) on the river Kennet in central Reading. This year I have been seeing them on and off since late April. Yesterday I noticed several little heads peeping out from one of the rainwater runoff pipes on the opposite bank to the glass recycling bins at the bottom of Sidmouth Street. This morning I went down with my camera and took some photos.
The parents were coming back about every minute or so.
But they would only remain just long enough to pass over the food they had gathered, before they were off again.
I saw other sand martins going in and out of a pipe a few metres to the right of this one, but they were going right up inside the pipe and there were no little heads peeping out, so presumably their brood was less well advanced.
Photos taken from Kennetside, Reading, UK, on 2010-06-24.
The four nestlings are now out of their nest and flying up and down the river, occasionally coming back to the pipes for a rest.