Last weekend I took the bike on the train down to Surrey to observe and listen to Eurasian Nightjars (Caprimulgus europaeus). Arriving an hour before sunset a Woodlark was singing its endless song in the sky and a Dartford Warbler was giving a few bursts of scratchy warbles form the heather. About 40 minutes before sunset I heard a couple of short churrs from pine woodland. Just as the sun disappeared, when conditions were still warm with little wind, several Nightjars emerged to feed and display over the heathland. For the next hour I was surrounded by calling, churring and wing-clapping birds. Watching these mysterious birds float buoyantly around in the half-light against a warm sunset with the scent of pine and aromatic heathland plants made for a memorable summer experience. But then it was a race back in the dark to catch the last train to Waterloo.
Territorial male churring song from sandy heathland with pines.
Territorial churring song followed by wing-clapping display flight.