bird behaviour, Sketchbook

Nightjar and Turtle Dove

In the last two days I have managed to see two really special summer migrants, both very close to our home. After a failed attempt to see the eclipse of the moon on a cloudy evening I decided to try and find some Nightjars. It was nearly 11pm but twilight lingered in the North Western sky. I set out into likely habitat and began to clap my hands, as one does! This was an attempt to replicate the male Nightjar’s wing clapping display, almost immediately I was aware of a Nightjar approaching me, silhouetted against the dim sky it flew a couple of feet above my head on buoyant flight circling around me several times until it was sure I was not another Nightjar. It then settled close by and began its amazing churring song. This chilling sound is pure magic to listen to, perhaps more so when you are alone in near darkness in remote habitat Add to this the strange frog like calls of Woodcock roding flights and you have an night to remember.

A stone’s throw from where I saw the Nightjar early this morning I heard the beautiful purring calls of three Turtle Doves. They are extremely elusive when calling but I did manage a brief view of one in the top of a larch tree, enough time to glimpse its beautiful tawny and grey plumage before it flew. Turtle Doves are summer migrants to Britain have declined massively not least due to the fact that they are shot whilst on migration through Southern Europe.

I know I am extremely privileged to be able to observe these two fascinating birds so close to home.

Nightjar in flight- watercolour in sketchbook

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