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Bee-eaters grove

There is a small, nearly abandoned sand mine near the village of Sancraieni (Ciuc-basin). It is rarely used to extract sand, but this casual activity creates newly exposed sand walls used by a European bee-eater colony (Merops apiaster) to dig their breeding burrows.


A road passes not far from the sand walls (on the picture below) and part of the sand pit is still frequented by heavy machinery and trucks. The present of potential ground-predation (like humans and their equipment) elicit strong reaction in bee-eaters.

Adults immediately interrupt feeding, encircle the colony, and if disturbance persists, perch in trees or bushes in view of the colony wall. Feeding of chicks can be suspended for up to 2 hours.

We would like to plant a small forest/hedge to separate the sand walls from the disturbance.

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The location of the sand mine:

We will begin planting sessile oaks (Quercus petraea) and their companion species (maple, aspen, hawthorn a bit rowan) this fall.

In spring we are planning to build a bird hide which can offer the possibility of disturbance-free observation of the bee-eaters, we will place insect hotels.


In the vicinity of this site – on an area of about one square kilometre – the main hunting ground for bee-eaters, we will plant scattered, solitary trees. As their name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat flying insects, especially bees and wasps, which are caught on the wing from an open perch and these lonely trees are going to be used as perches.


(1) Quercus petraea, Betula pendula, Fraxinus excelsior), Sorbus aucuparia, Acer platanoides, Populus tremula;

(2) Crataegus monogyna, Sorbus aucuparia, Anthyllis vulneraria, Astragalus cicer, Cephalaria transylvanica, Daucus carota, Dianthus pontederae, Echium vulgare, Filipendula vulgaris, Lotus corniculatus, Medicago lupulina,  Onobrychis arenaria, Plantago lanceolata, Salvia austriaca, Salvia nemorosa, Salvia pratensis, Segurigera varia, Trifolium montanum, Trifolium repens.

(3) Bird hide

(4) Scattered Quercus petraea, Fraxinus excelsior, Sorbus aucuparia

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Planting in October 2022
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Mounting of beehotels with local students - May 2023
Tree seedlings, bee-eaters and little owl in the sand mine - summer 2023
Some neighbours of the bee-eater colony- living in the sand mine:
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