Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Chobham Common - 25th July 2017

After some rather windy conditions this evening definitely looked favourable and with the added bonus that the young would now be on the wing, we were hopeful of improving on our 2017 total, so far, of a single Nightjar caught in June.

We arrived at 8pm and between the four of us (CL, DKL, WA, LON) the three doubles were up in next to no time. As usual we set on established paths and cleared areas so as to avoid disturbance of heather covered areas. It's already over a month since the summer solstice so we knew that we would only have a very, very short space of time to try for diurnal species, before the still, quiet time when nothing seems to move until dusk falls when the churring and calls of Nightjars are first heard.

By the time it started to get dark there had been no captures and with the first Nightjar calls, we started to play the tapes and had a glimpse of a couple of birds, one skimming just over one of our nets.

There didn't seem to be a great deal of activity and after several unsuccessful tries earlier in the summer it wasn't looking too hopeful. However, our first capture was of a bird hatched this year,  The solid, irregularly shaped large markings on the outermost primaries provide an indication that it is male. It was in the net just a metre off the ground.

3M Nightjar

We were then surprised to catch a young Dartford Warbler, that had been moving around after dark, and glad that it departed readily after processing.

We expected these to be our only captures as we had decided that we would not continue beyond 11pm. On starting to take nets down a second Nightjar was captured.

5M Nightjar

Broad dark bands between light patterning on
underwing, indicative of second year.

Total: 3

Nightjar - 2
Dartford Warbler - 1