NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus europaeus
Scarce summer visitor
Most recent sightings:
Whilst, hopefully temporarily, breeding has petered out, there was some consolation this year in the discovery of a migrant at Caldene Fields on 3rd July. Local residents who found the bird had close views, and provided convincing descriptions
After only a brief migrant in 2010, this was the best ever year for the numbers of birds and locations, though there was again no evidence of breeding activity. Birds were seen in June and July at seven locations, including the one where breeding has been attempted in the past, and up to 10 birds were observed in total, though, as some of the sites are relatively close, this might be overstated. Individuals were the norm, though two and three were seen on single dates.
Locations and numbers were well down on last year, and it is likely birds summered at only two adjacent sites, where at least two were seen at both between 9th June and 11th July, and one was caught and ringed. Singles found elsewhere on 21st May and 4th June could have been transient. As in 2011, there was no indication of breeding.
Deforestation of the sites at Stainburn Forest and Norwood Edge have provided new locations where at least three pairs have been watched late into the summer evenings. Although there was no evidence, it is reasonable to assume that breeding did take place at these locations. Another pair was identified during July at Rivock Plantation, where churring and display flights were witnessed.
As in recent years, the areas where deforestation has taken place have provided excellent habitats for this species. The newly-cleared areas at Sandwith Moor, Norwood Edge, and Rivock Plantation have remained prime locations. At Sandwith Moor two pairs were active, with two birds seen in one location and a third was heard elsewhere. At Norwood Edge a male was heard in July and at the Rivock Plantation up to three birds were identified.
The eight reports were from watchers who spent late evenings at Stainburn Forest and covered the period from 3rd June to 2nd July. The submitted information indicated that at least two, possibly three pairs were active. Males were heard churring and engaging in wing clapping, and females were seen hawking for insects, but there was no further information concerning breeding.