Nightjars, Woodcocks and Spotted Flycatchers ... Thursday 24th June 2010

After a tip-off, from Lingfield birder Ray Baker, that a pair of Spotted Flycatchers were showing well, we headed for the location near Felbridge in Surrey in the afternoon. Sure enough, one bird showed well. Thanks Ray.


We then headed on to Old Lodge nature reserve on the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex. Our target birds being Woodcock and Nightjar.

On arrival, we were soon spotted a male Common Redstart, the first of four birds seen (which included two juveniles) and several more birds were heard calling.


A Marsh Tit was seen at close quarters and two Nuthatches were also present.
Further round the reserve, we found the Spotted Flycatcher in exactly the same location as it was seen last Sunday so, presumably, there are a pair nesting there.



Three Stonechats were around the reserve (two males and a female) and they were all carrying food so they must also have young.


Male STONECHAT (Graham)

Only two Tree Pipits were seen - there are certainly reduced numbers of this species on the reserve this year. A male Blackcap showed briefly and a Chiffchaff was singing distantly. Two male Pheasants were calling constantly and, as the light faded in the late evening, we positioned ourselves at a spot on the reserve where we knew we had the best chance of seeing our target birds.


As the sun set, a Woodcock flew low over a wooded area, calling as it passed over near us, and shortly afterwards, another was seen, but a bit more distantly than the first bird. The midges started to plague us but at least they seemed not to be biting.
Whilst we waited for the first Nightjar to start churring, one bird (a male) flew in close and low over the heather. The white flashes on the wing being very obvious. Surprising to see one before hearing any.
A short while later, one started churring from somewhere behind us and then two birds flew low over the same patch of heather.

A female passed within inches of Paul's head and we had further sightings, including a bird perched and churring on a nearby dead tree, but it was difficult to assess how many birds were involved – definitely three, but maybe there were up to five birds present in total.

Believe it or not, that's a NIGHTJAR perched on the end of the branch (Graham)

Mission accomplished.

Paul & Graham

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