Thursday, 23 August 2012

Nightjars at Slaley Forest

Whitburn Ringing Group gained permission from the Forestry Commission to monitor nightjars at Slaley Forest in July.  So far we have had two ringing sessions with both being productive.  On the 3rd August, Lisa and I headed to the site for the first ringing attempt.  I had been tipped off to the best spot in the forest for nightjar so we headed there.  I was really hoping we might get one bird as I had dragged Lisa out after a long week in the office.  I set nets against some young spruce trees, put on the tape recording and waited.  It wasnt long before the first bird was flying around the net and shortly after there were two adult male birds in the net.  Lisa and I ringed, took biometric measurements and released the birds.  In order not to overly disturb any potential breeding birds I went to take the nets down only to find a third unringed adult male and a brown long eared bat.  After that I managed to get the net down and leave the birds in peace.  This surpassed my expectations.

© Lisa Russell

© Lisa Russell

As the high pressure system was still hanging over the north of England, I decided to take full advantage and get the guys out for a second session.  We set two nets in different locations, with one at the original site.  After a walk up the track, two churring males were located so we set another net.  Shortly after I went on a net round and had two birds in the net above the tape recording. This was great as both John and Jason had not handled nightjar before.  One was yet another adult male and the other was originally identified as a female however was re-identified as a juvenile, which probably confirms breeding at the site for 2012. No other birds or bats were trapped that night but we all left very happy.

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