Jul 01 2021

Nightjar update

Three nightjars on a nest, with an inset photograph showing the two eggs on the ground
You may have noticed I quite like nightjars! I think about them a lot and worry about them when the weather is bad. Being nocturnal and beautifully camouflaged, they don’t exactly advertise themselves, and it’s rare to see one in the daytime!

They nest right on the ground. No nest to speak of, just two eggs laid on the heathland floor, somewhere in amongst the heather and gorse. I only get to see them on the ‘nest’ very occasionally, when I accompany a licenced bird surveyor. I haven’t had any opportunities to do that lately and I’ve been wondering how well they’ve coped with the recent unpredictable weather. So I was overjoyed when one of our land management partners sent these photographs in!

A ranger for one of our Special Protection Area heaths came across the eggs in the inset photograph in early June and after leaving them undisturbed all month, went back to check on them the other day and found 3 birds! We suspect it’s two chicks and a parent. Can you pick them out in the photo? It’s not often you see a nightjar, let alone three together in one place!

This is such great news and a relief to know they’ve successfully reared a young family, despite all the weather has thrown at them.

Thank you too, to everyone for keeping to main paths during this period. The care you take on the heaths makes little miracles like this possible 😊

Thames Basin Heaths Partnership


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