Trip reports

Nightjar Outing - Hardy Monument

Nightjar on ground among heather
RSPB Image

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Nightjars are rather unusual birds and we are lucky in this area to have sites that are reliable for breeding. The heathland at Hardy Monument is perfect for their needs, being grazed lightly by the herd of Belted Galloway cattle, leaving perching branches and plenty of cover for the ground nests. Eight members met on a calm mild evening to stroll towards a path overlooking a wide valley. Here we spotted some distant deer, Robins and Blackbirds were still calling and a Buzzard flew over. The churring of the Nightjars soon started, they make this contact calling from a perch, you need to hear the sharp "kweek" noise to know they are in flight. We turned to wander slowly back to the cars in the fading light and were soon enjoying excellent views of the birds in flight - a very stiff-winged posture. Altogether we probably had about 15 churrings, but it is difficult to be sure how many birds this represents as they move around. At one point there were three birds together in flight, together with several more single birds. Bats were also out in force in big numbers and there seemed to be plenty of insects around for all their needs.

Mary Robins