Sunday 24 May 2015

The House Martins of Earp Avenue

Earp Avenue. Nothing to do with Wyatt Earp I would assume, but presumably some figure from the town's past. I've no idea what significance he had, or his street, had in the past, but today it has anoter one.

It seems to be the only place in Newark where house martins still nest.

When I was young, virtually every house would have the muddy inverted dome of a martin nest under its gable end. The buildings of the town centre would have colonies of martins living under the stone eaves. But now, they have put pigeon barriers up and this seems to have made it difficult for the martins to nest. New house design doesn't seem very condusive to house martin nest building, and some people actually say that their nests are messy, and try to remove them which I find utterly crazy.

So the Earp Avenue house martin colony is quite significant, and I went to check on it today.

There were about 15 birds in the air. Noticeably tubbier than swallows and swifts, they were evidently in the business of feeding their young, catching insects on the wing above the trees by Magnus School hockey pitch, before returning to their nests under the eaves of the Earp Avenue houses. Only they weren't, because perhaps put off by my presence watching them they were approaching their nests before pulling away at the last second.

At all times, they emitted a rather cricket like "Prrrr" call, an almost insectoid noise compared to the scream of a swift. Lovely birds, but not doing as well as they once did.

I've been busy. 7km of walking and 23km of cycling. I enjoyed it, and there was lots to see.

Enjoy, as ever.


The martin hunting grounds

Tree bumble loving ceonothus. No other bumble likes it as much


Very oily smell, has ceonothus

Foxgloves now in bloom

Shepherd's purse

Mr pheasant met his demise here

Gently sways the barley

Eldern now in bloom

Red tailed queeen in the old Sconce wood


Bug on my sycamore

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