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joannec
Friday 17th March 2006, 12:43
This morning I saw between 30 and 40 house martins at Selmeston, East Sussex. They had cleared the South Downs and were flying north. Good news, a real sign of spring!

bristolbirder
Friday 17th March 2006, 12:47
Nice one joanne! Let's hope it warms up for them very soon.

Steve

London Birder
Friday 17th March 2006, 12:57
wow, that's a good number this early!

joannec
Saturday 18th March 2006, 09:01
Yeah, I was really pleased to see them! Made my day. It was about 10 am and I thought they must have left France shortly after dawn, thought that would be about right to fly over the Downs at 10. It is brighter in Sussex today so maybe there will be some insects about for them or more likely another group.

Carltonu
Saturday 18th March 2006, 13:40
I can almost hear the joy in your voice! Spring has Sprung!!! :-)

I live in Southern Delaware, USA and am awaiting the return from Brazil of our purple martins. I guess they are very similar in habits to your house swallows. I have up gourds and an apartment style house, on telescoping poles, for my purple martins. The earliest scouts should be here any day although right now we are having a cold snap with some snow possible on Tuesday.

Carl

Carltonu
Saturday 18th March 2006, 14:20
Here are some pictures of my purple martin Supergourds and Troyer Horizontal gourds awaiting the return of my friends from Brazil. You can see the owl/fish crow/hawk/gull guards on the entrances as well as the raccoon/snake guard on the telescoping pole.

Carl
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, USA

Carltonu
Saturday 18th March 2006, 14:29
Here is another picture showing another type of Purple Martin house, commonly used here, called the Trio Grandma house. The house, as came from the factory, had 8 compartments but I modified it so that it has only 4 with a side room for the nesting martins. Nesting in the side room helps greatly in protecting the eggs and young from winged predators reaching in. Research has shown that the purple martins GREATLY approve of the extra space and protection of the nesting chamber. You will also notice the odd shaped entrance. Research has shown that this entrance, unlike the traditional keyhole or round, prevents the European Starling from entering or getting at the martin eggs or young. The House Sparrow and the Starling are SERIOUS problems for the native purple martin and people trying to assist the martin to survive.