Sunday, 27 May 2012

Nightjar Night - 24th May 2012

A hot and sunny day stuck in work but ideal for my yearly trip to Plymbridge Woods for a National Trust guided walk through the woods at dusk to look for nightjars. Meeting at the car park at Plymbridge Woods and handing over our £4 fees, our small group headed off to Cann Woods as dusk fell. It was warm and humid and still, perfect conditions for nightjar but also perfect conditions for mosquitos which I realised the next day when I found numerous itchy bites on my hands and fore arms.

We headed in to Cann Woods and the large area that was felled of its disease ridden larch trees last year and which is now covered in emerging vegetation. Within a few minutes a nightjar was heard churring, quickly followed by a second bird and for the next 45 minutes or so we heard 2 birds churring at the same time but there may have been more than 2 birds present . One bird was seen regularly returning to a tree branch to churr where it was silhoutted against the sky which unfortunately meant no plumage detail was seen. We did get views of 2 male birds chasing each other over the bracken, showing their white wing and tail patches as they wing clapped, called and churred, and I finally heard the rattling churr as a bird finished churring, sounding like a generator being turned off, very strange.

Also heard were quite a few tawny owls, blackcap and song thrush and a pale buzzard looked very ghostly as it flew over to roost in trees as the light faded. Pale moths flew over the bracken and small bats buzzed overhead.

It is quite possile to do the trip independently but I never really fancy walking around the woods in the dark on my own. David very kindly picked me up at about 10:45pm so saving me the long, dark walk from Plymbridge to Marsh Mills to catch a bus home and I enjoyed a nice glass of wine before hitting the sack after a very hot and tiring but enjoyable day.

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