The objective of this project is to design a Guide for the Management of Sand Martin (Riparia riparia) in Gravel Pits. This document will aid to reconcile the presence of Sand Martins with mining activities in gravel extraction sites.
It will be applicable at any sand pit, and its format will be a simple decision tree.
It will be aimed at the gravel pit staff, since it is they are the ones who face this issue directly. This Guide will allow then to make decisions and take actions regarding Sand Martin management, without the aid of external consultation. Furthermore, those employees with more interest, but no environmental knowledge, will be able to put into practice actions to promote biodiversity, and promote Heidelberg’s Biodiversity Strategy.
To complement this Guide, a simple study will be conducted. The objective of this study is to identify and verify which are the characteristics that should be imitated when recreating artificial slopes, so as to attract Sand Martins away from conflictive areas. These characteristics will be included in the Guide, and will aid the process of constructing artificial slopes.

Cool gadgets to measure variables in the sand stocks

To determine whether the orientation of the stock faces could influence the burrow distribution, we placed humidity and temperature sensors on each face of the stocks. We would like to express a special thanks to Sergio and Soledad from the Geology department of the CSIC for trusting us with their data loggers.

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15Sep

Monitoring Sand Martin use of the Áridos Gravel Pit

Sand Martins preferred bodies of water which were located at open spaces, and of shallow depth. These types of habitat could be maintained so as to promote the presence of Sand Martins.

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01Sep

Sand Martin selfies! - ¡Selfies de avión zapador!

Check out the first images of the Sand Martins that colonized our experimental stocks! - ¡Podéis ver las primeras imagenes de los aviones zapadores de nuestros acopios experimentales!

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22Jul

Second video of a Sand Martin chick - Segundo vídeo de un pollo de avión zapador

More footage of Sand Martins, taken with an endoscope. Más imágenes de aviones zapadores tomadas con un endoscopio.

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21Jul

Sand Martin selfies! - ¡Selfies de avión zapador!

Check out the first images of the Sand Martins that colonized our experimental stocks! - ¡Podéis ver las primeras imagenes de los aviones zapadores de nuestros acopios experimentales!

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21Jul

Bird species found at Áridos Sanz Gravel Pit

Though we have been focusing on Sand Martins, there are many other bird species present at Áridos Sanz gravel pit.

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12Jul

Sand Martins seem to be thriving / Los aviones zapadores parecen estar prosperando

Our small colony of Sand Martins seems to be doing well. A month after having burrowed at the sand stocks, they are still going strong, at least at one of them. Nuestra pequeña colonia de aviones zapadores parece continuar bien. Un mes tras haber excavado en los acopios, siguen con actividad intensa en al menos uno de ellos.

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29Jun

Monitoring the artificial sand stocks

We are monitoring variables so as to explain the processes that could be influencing the colonization of our stocks. We are also monitoring the spacial use of the gravel pit by the Sand Martins.

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22Mayo

Yay! We have tenants!

After much expectation, it seems we have good news! Stock number one has at least three holes which have been dug by Sand Martins, and there are at least five in stock number two! We have also observed Sand Martins landing and going into at least three of the holes in this second stock.

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22Mayo

Second experimental sand stock for Sand martins complete!

After some pretty heavy rain last week, we have finally finished the second sand stock for Sand martins at the Áridos Sanz gravel pit.

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27Abr

¡Primer acopio! - First stock!

Tras 5 horas de trabajo, 1200 toneladas de materiales y mucha ilusión, tenemos formado nuestro primer acopio experimental. ¡Cuando paren las lluvias le daremos el aspecto final! After 5 hours of work, 1200 tons of material and a lot of enthusiasm, we have our first experimental sand stock. Once the rain stops, we will give it its final shape!

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20Abr