Sunday, 14 June 2015

A Surprise in the Dark

On Friday evening the only Woodcock event of the year took place. We went first to a heathland area and were rewarded with a singing Woodlark, a pair of Green Woodpeckers and a very bright Yellowhammer. A few Linnets flew over us at times, but the sun had gone in, so there were no snakes to see, and the only insect of interest was a Longhorn Beetle near the top of a post. A very large Barn Owl emerged from some conifers and appeared to head towards farmland to hunt. We made our way to the main viewing area. There were quite a few birds singing on our arrival. These included Song Thrushes, Yellowhammers and Linnets. While we waited a male Bullfinch flew in to some young Silver Birches, and then out again back to from where it originated.
Nightjar - taken in rain at Spurn (c) 2015 Mick Sharpe
At 9.15 the first click of a Woodcock was heard as it flew along the edge of the conifer woodland from the north to the south. It may have been as much as 10 minutes before the next one was seen. Unlike last year, this time the frog-like call was virtually completely absent. However, this time we occasionally saw pairs of Woodcock apparently flying together. We decided to call it a day just before 10pm and headed back to the car park. The gravel path was quite noisy, but through all the clunking I managed to discern a faint churring sound. Yes, it was a Nightjar. We carried on along the main path, and the sound increased in volume until it was the loudest Nightjar I'd ever heard. Unfortunately, once the sound died away after 5 minutes or so of engine-like sound, it was never repeated, and no flying birds were seen. However, it made a great ending to the evening. It is great to know Nightjars are attempting to colonise a new site for them.
 Two-Banded Longhorn Beetle Rhagium bifasciatum
(ID James Spencer)

No comments: