Friday, 11 May 2012

Nightjar time

I had decided that the first sunny day would be a trip to Rye Harbour, following the post on SOS by Bernie, Dave and Dorian about Church Norton - Spotted Flycatchers and Marlpit Lane - Turtle Doves it was a hasty change of mind and an early start at Church Norton. There were several "spotties" present when I arrived  so I tried to get the early morning sun right and blow me by the time I got behind the hide they had disappeared. Anyway, there were some obliging Whitethroats posing well on the bushes facing the harbour. One male in particular was doing all the antics and singing his head off, meanwhile his mate was doing all the hard work in sorting out the nest site.


Madame Whitethroat


I met Terry, another birder whose surname I don't know, who gave me excellent directions for Marlpit Lane so it was off to find some Turtle Doves. As soon as I parked the car in one of the laybys and opened the door I was blasted by a wall of sound from a Nightingale - I guess about six feet away but totally invisible to me. Throughout my stay there were at least five Nightingales singing on and off and were just getting going strongly when I left at 1300. There were also the reported Turtle Doves purring away  and occasionally they would do crossing flights of the ride and one eventually landed in the grass and fed - just too far away for a shot. In my attempts to get better views I flushed a bird from beneath the hedge which flew about ten yards and perched in a tree by the roadside.  Extrication from the hedge took some time but I eventually got a bead on him and was astounded to see it was a Nightjar. Conditions were fairly dark so up to 1000 ISO and hope for the best. Unfortunately I was using the 400mm f5.6 handheld, so I ran back to the car, grabbed tripod and big lens and returned to find the bird had vacated the premises.


Nightjar - 'old whiskers'

Onward to Lavington Plantation, which was somewhat lacking in birds, but at least I found a pair of Treecreepers feeding merrily on the Grafham side.




  1. Great Nightjar shots at 1000ISO handheld you did very well Dave.

    1. Hi Mike
      I guess chances like that don't come along often - however I have the feeling that I blew it. Having located the bird I should have calmed down and thought it through. I took about thirty shots with the 400 and I was struggling for speed and focus. Perhaps I should have stuck at it rather than go back for the other lens. Ah well - it was still a good day. Really liked your Godwit shots - must leave a comment.