Friday, 4 June 2010
Couple of jars
We went West towards the end of the day.
Chanced upon this Barn Owl just outside his large Ash cavity.
Timed it perfectly, as we scoped from range, he wing stretched, gradually becoming more alert, taking in the movement & sounds around him, before treating us to a fly past as he went out to hunt.
Easy pickings at present.
Tractors & trailers rushed through fields taking the first cut of silage off as the dark sky loomed & a rumble of thunder echoed down from further up the dale.
Didnt see a car on this quiet road, unfortunately this Pheasant poult had.
We had a brief drive round, with a fine female Merlin dashing across in front of us, landing on a rock.
Other bits & bobs included Tree Pipit, Grey Partridge, Curlew, Garden Warbler, Snipe, Redstart, Woodcock.
A distant Cuckoo on top of a plantation could be heard clearly over a great distance in the calm quiet moorland evening & a juvvy Stonechat zipped into its roost.
A few heavy spots of rain never came to much,
so it was on to the main course . . .
Last visit had drawn a complete blank,
not a sniff from a Nightjar
We were up the forest in good time for the 20 min walk up the hill to the Goatsucker site
a couple of Woodcock had set out on their strange roding flights high over the canopy heading out across the open rushy ground.
3 good size leverets raced along in front of us showing us the way.
As the evening grew quieter, we moved Heel & toe along the stoney forest road.
Woodcock were all around
As we approached the largest forest clearing at @ 21:45, expecting a 10-15 min wait,
we were simply gob-smacked to see a stunning male Nightjar fly up from feet away from the edge of the roadway, floating away, only to veer round a Spruce, relanding on a log yards away !
We had a Nighjar within our sights & it was on the deck in good light ! (another of this years challenges safely out of the way !)
( before any eyebrows raise at what appears to be a "flushed" Schedule 1 breeder - we we had our feet firmly on the hard track when the bird sprang up ;-) )
Words dont seem to be enough to describe the next hour or so
Lots of close range fly-bys, including a good look at the female too
male churring openly at least 6 times
Male Nightjar churring
Very animated as he sang, realy chucking his head about & flicking his tail open as he momentarily paused between bursts.
Excellent watching his flutter into position whilst landing
( hand held digi-scoped doesnt do it justice - it was still decent light )
Certainly my best Nightjar encounter & The Herons "best ever UK views".