A total of 22 members and guests joined Andrew Bluett over three evening visits to the Forest of Dean on 18th and 24th June and 9th July 2015. Each meeting began at 9.00 pm with Nightjar activity commencing soon after 9.30. The site visited held two pairs of birds which gave good sightings of flying birds approaching to within 10 metres of the group several times and long bouts of “churring” song.
The warm still evenings did encourage the local Mosquitos to be troublesome but not seriously so, and at the first and last meetings groups of Wild Boar of various ages and sizes were seen near the car park. Song Thrush song punctuated the waiting before Nightjars became active and the clicking of a Stonechat was heard on all three occasions, Woodcock were notable by their absence for most of the time with only a very few roding passes; a young Tawny Owl was heard calling from the denser part of the forest at all meetings.
The Nightjar flights were visible easily when traversing the backlit sky but less so when low down and skimming across the vegetation; one male bird sang regularly from a particular Silver Birch Tree and could be picked up in a torch beam, most especially when the eye caught the light and reflected it back.
At two of the meetings members with Bat detectors were able to locate and identify various species for the group.
Walking back to the car park was rather uneventful at the first two meetings but on the third meeting, a number of variously sized Toads were discovered along the forest track, most of them small and no more than 18 mm long. A rather suspicious rustling in the undergrowth was a little un-nerving until the light of torches brought to bear revealed two Fallow Deer rather than the expected Wild Boar.
My thanks to all those who took part and for those who were not able to attend the meetings, you should get another chance next year..!
Photographs of male Nightjar courtesy of Ken Cservenka – note the white patches in the wings and tail identifying males and a short video by Andrew Bluett at the link below.