This time last year we set out in pouring rain to see this elusive bird and most of us were rewarded with a fleeting sighting which given the conditions was amazing. So this year on a warm evening following a hot day we set out confident that the conditions were right and we would see nightjars. So after meeting at The Woodman – no time unfortunately to have a drink with Irene celebrating her birthday – 14 of us set out following Wendy’s hand drawn map, X marking the spot where they would be. A few bats swirled about at the edge of the woods meaning that insects were flying so plenty of food for nightjars; song thrush was heard and a distant tawny owl but little else stirred.
At the clearing where we expected to see them – nothing, but then after a few minutes milling around we heard the distinctive churring of a nightjar. The nightjar(s) must have been very close as the churring was so loud but frantic scanning of the woodland yielded nothing until Neville spotted one leave a tree and fly around the clearing. But the sighting was fleeting and not everyone saw it. Despite waving white hankies to attract further birds nothing more was seen of the bird but the churring continued.
Eventually we made our way back along a path lit by glow worms and a lovely crescent moon. We were all pleased to have heard the amazing churring and those who saw the nightjar had another tick for the year!
Thanks to the landlord at The Woodman for letting us use the car park, and if anyone wishes to explore on their own a great place to start from and finish.