Old Lodge NR, Ashdown Forest, East Sussex ... evening 14th June 2011

Paul kindly took Gordon and myself down to Old Lodge reserve in the evening for a Nightjar session. We were not to be disappointed.

Arriving around 8 p.m., the reserve was obviously quieter than when Sue and I visited earlier in the day but quite a few Common Redstarts were still calling but not showing themselves.

Heading down the valley towards the brook, a Tree Pipit was heard distantly and Gordon spotted a large raptor heading away over the ridge of the MOD land - a RED KITE.
We headed on up the far side of the valley and took up position for our stake-out by a large area of heather next to a conifer wood.

A Badger trotted along through the trees about 20 yards away from us and several Fallow Deer were in the area.

After quite a wait and as the light faded, a WOODCOCK flew over the tops of the trees at the edge of the conifer wood, giving its distinctive call. Presumably the same bird returned some time later and it, or another, flew back low over our heads in typical butterfly flight.

A NIGHTJAR was heard distantly and it wasn't too long before one was churring not far from where we were standing. Gordon headed along the path towards it and soon we were treated to the sight of two males flapping low over the heather. These were joined by a third bird that flew in low over our heads.

By now, the mosquitos and midges were giving us a hard time but it was worth the irritation. The Nightjars headed off over the MOD land and, although we knew they would return, it was getting too dark to get any more good views so we headed towards the car park.
A Tawny Owl was calling in the distance and nine Fallow Deer were gathered near the path.
A very enjoyable evening and well worth the effort.

Paul , Gordon & Graham

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