7/7/16 – Second Nightjar Trip to Clumber Park

A second fully subscribed joint Ogston/DOS trip to Clumber Park this time had a delightfully warm, still evening.  Surprisingly, we were unable to fully capitalise upon this and  identified (saw/heard) only 35 different species.  However, early on we had excellent views of Linnets and were able to watch one or more families of Sedge Warbler hopping around on a large green mat of algae floating on the water surface at the base of the reeds looking for invertebrates. We also got good, close views of 4 female mandarins and a magnificent 3 foot long Pike which stationed itself under the bridge next to the ford near to Hardwick village. At about 21:15 we arrived at the clearing where we had seen Nightjars previously.  On this warm still evening we expected great things.   The resident Hobby did a couple of flies past and the Tawny Owls and Song Thrushes gave their usual background musical accompaniment.  Rather surprisingly Woodcock put in very few appearances although one of these was excellent with the bird wheeling above us uttering its distinctive squeak.  The warm evening however, did encourage the bats to come out and as the light faded they got progressively closer until they were wheeling around our heads.

As if operated by a time switch, the Nightjars again, began churring at 21:55 when 3 males started singing.  However, this time, sightings were limited and brief but on the positive side, we were were entertained to their full range of calls and song starting with the traditional rapid churring, a variety of yelps and squeaks and finally, a very slow churr sounding a bit like a motorbike slowing to tick over.  One lucky observer, did however, see three Nightjars in the air at once.

We will repeat these trips next year but may opt to schedule them for earlier in the year when the males might be more visible as they compete for mates and territory.

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