Trip reports

Greenham Common.

Greenham Common.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

It was a lovely warm summer's evening when nine of us set off for Greenham Common at around 7pm. The main objective was to hear and see nightjars. Of the group only two of us had heard and seen them before so there was some excitement about the possibilities!

On arrival at Greenham Common the sun was still shining so we used the time to explore part of the wide open heathland. A few linnets and goldfinches were busy flitting from bush to bush and a whitethroat showed briefly. Blackcap, song thrush and chiffchaff were heard but never actually seen. We had hoped to encounter woodlarks that breed on the common, but not on this occasion.

As the light faded, we made our way to a scrubby area surrounded by woodland. After waiting a short while two woodcocks circled around just above the tree line and then over the next 20 minutes we got a further eight or nine sightings of them. Whether they were the same two or not we will never know. At around 9.45pm we heard a nightjar calling (churring) which was very promising, but then nothing until 10pm. A bird that I felt had the shape of a nightjar suddenly glided just over our heads and into the woodland. It was confirmed five minutes later when "churring" came from the trees it had disappeared into. Sadly not everyone had seen this very brief encounter, but about five minutes later we were rewarded with very close views of a nightjar flitting about and then watched as it interacted with a second bird. These fantastic views in the fading light were very much enjoyed by the whole group.

On our walk back to the cars at 10.30pm we heard two more nightjars "churring" from different locations which is rather encouraging for the breeding population on the common.

Reg Cox