Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Saturday, 2 July 2011


A whole year or more has past since picking up the first unmistakable tones of a forestry clearing nightjar close to Blaenavon. With the breeding season starting to tail off I couldn't wait any longer to sample that dead giveaway 'purring' (see recent GOS web entry) or the opportunity would be lost for another year.

A 9.30 pm arrival was still just light enough to photograph a male whinchat and watch a bat disappear over the horizon. Sitting in car in a lay-by on a mountain road is a lonely existence and does illicit some looks from passing motorists - I was offered drugs and a sprig of lucky heather -  but by 10.15 pm with no sight or sound of nightjar and  the pull of a post mortem of Andy Murray's exit from Wimbledon on Radio Five Live I decided to wrap it up head home. But not before one final attempt at picking out the calling of this bird from the background hum of my tinnitus. Then at 10.18 pm there it was one bird, but not from the confines of the FC clearing but from the moorland edge. I left happy.

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