Sunday 27 June 2010

Nocturnal delights in London

apologies for the poor video quality; the first bird is more obviously the Nightjar than the second bird is a Woodlark

I met with Dominic Mitchell, Lol Bodini (of Dusky Warbler fame) and Gareth Richards at about 9.10pm this evening in the car park of the local Nightjar site that I visited previously in early June and we made our way towards where I'd seen the bird last time.

After a bit of waiting it was starting to get dark (past the point at which I had the bird last time) so we decided to play the tape and sure enough the male Nightjar powered out of the vegetation and flew above us, giving its croaking call and good views for the very happy us!

While Dominic and Gareth were off photographing the bird, Lol and I flushed a couple of small brown birds from an open stony area after sunset; it was too dark to scan for them so we called the others over and we spaced out, walking towards where the birds appeared to drop down, flushing what turned out to be four, just as Lol and I had suspected, Woodlarks! London tick for me and Gareth!

I spotted one bird roosting just a few feet away from us and we got close but very dark (wasn't far off as dark as it was going to get) views. Amazingly, I spotted another dash out from the low vegetation into the open even closer (less than 10 yards away), freeze when it saw us and then flit away but the others didn't get on that one. A Tawny Owl hooted in the distance.

After watching the Woodlarks, the Nightjar reappeared, briefly landing in a birch before flying off and returning to sing constantly for a few minutes at close range; after savouring this very, very rare sound in London (Dominic reckons this is probably the only site in the recording area for them) we thought it best to leave everything alone and head off home.