Reservoir launches new bird challenge

Nature lovers leading a major project to encourage one of country’s most magnificent birds of prey to a Derbyshire reservoir – have set themselves a new challenge.

Earlier in the year volunteers installed four nesting platforms at Carsington Water to tempt Osprey to the area.

The project has so far proved a success with two birds stopping off at the platforms and several sightings but rangers are now launching a new venture to protect Sand Martins – one of the country’s at risk birds.

Sand banks are being created for the birds to nest in and volunteers hope if funding is successful the project will start in the new year.

The birds are on the ‘amber list’ for conservation which means there is concern for their future as severe drought conditions in their African wintering grounds in the 1900s caused the population to decline.

Senior volunteer ranger David Bennett said it would take around four weeks to complete the sand banks.

He added: “The Sand Martins usually arrive in April.

“We hope they will get in the sand banks, build a nest and breed and then stay throughout the summer.

“Where the site is it can be seen from the wildlife centre so people can sit there and watch them going in and out of the nests.

“It really is quite thrilling for us.”

Volunteers will be installing concrete blocks with holes in, filling them with a mix of sand and concrete and hoping they will prove suitable homes for the birds.

The Osprey project is also drawing in many visitors to Carsington as people come from far and wide in the hope they will get a glimpse of the magnificent birds.

Rangers have put together a one hour Powerpoint presentation of the project and a volunteer is available to present it to any interested groups within a 15 mile radius of Derby or Carsington.

For more details or to donate towards the Sand Martin banks call 01332 557942.