Saturday, 24 August 2013

Birds of the Night

Last night we decided to spend a few hours in pursuit of Nightjars on "Sarn Helen" a former Roman road connecting Nidum (Neath) with Segontium (Caernarfon). These nocturnal or crepuscular birds with bristles around their mouths (to perhaps assist them in the capture of insects whilst in flight) are an endangered species and the conservation status has been given a Red Alert. The Nightjar season is from May to September spending the rest of the year in Africa so we really had left our visit very late in the season to try and catch these elusive birds

Anyway we had two 60ft nets set up and ready to go for about 8.30pm. The nets were about 150 metres apart and as it got dark it wasn't long before the trill of the male bird could be heard as he flew around our heads. Not long later it flew into the net. Just as the male ws being processed the female also flew into the net. Since in a square kilometre is probably only one mating pair we decided it was probably wise to pack up rather than run the risk of catching the same birds a second time.

The bird above is the female. The male bird has white tips to its outer tail feathers

Head shot of the male.

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