Trip reports

RSPB Farnham Heath - 19/06/2019

Nightjar on ground among heather

Monday, 24 June 2019

The frequent heavy showers experienced earlier in the day continued into the evening and made looking for heathland birds difficult.

A song thrush was seen singing from a pine soon after entering the reserve and both a willow warbler and a blue tit occupied a silver birch growing adjacent to the path that leads out on to the heath.

After seeing a young buck roe deer near some fallen pines, it started to rain quite heavily. We sheltered under a small oak for several minutes, before a male stonechat was noticed on the top of a small pine as conditions eased. A linnet appeared at the side of a wide track and two roe deer sprang from the vegetation running across the track before conditions deteriorated once again.

Following another period of shelter in the woodland, the rain eventually ceased. The sky remained grey and threatening, but we were able to await the first churring of the evening. Another male stonechat sang from a semi circular branch of a silver birch and a Dartford warbler was heard but not seen.

Excellent views of a male nightjar were soon being enjoyed as it flew low over the heather like a giant moth, white wing patches and outer tail spots standing out in fading light and aiding viewing considerably. Soon afterwards, a pair were seen flying together, the female soon landing in the heather, the male settling on a bare pine branch to engage in a long bout of churring before taking flight again.

We were treated to several flypasts and what had started as a disappointing evening ended nicely.