19
Jul
16

At last

We had been walking over the heath at Arne RSPB on the third day of our tour to Dorset. The Jurassic coast has lots of wildlife delights that made themselves available to us but none so much appreciated as on that day at Arne.

Written on the sightings board was a ‘Nightjar heard to call from the cafe garden’. Intriguing I thought. Upon enquiry with the warden on duty it had apparently been heard to churr at around nine o’clock that morning. It was now 5pm. Upon further enquiry I gleaned people in the cafe thought the churring had emanated from the car park. Those in the car park thought it came from the cafe. By my reasoning it had to be between the two, somewhere in a number of tall trees. I was told the trees had been scoured all day for a roosting bird without any luck.

Not to be deterred by the time elapsed since it had been heard, or the fact the area had been searched already, I explained to my ladies on the tour that we should take the opportunity to walk slowly to the cafe and shop looking carefully on all horizontal branches as we went. We completed a thorough search and … nothing!

As we got to the shop concentration broke and attention began to be diverted into buying bits and bobs. As purchases were made I thought I’d have a last look. Sitting on a bench I rose my bins and the first branch I checked … there it was. About 60 feet up in a tall oak. It sat, as they are inclined to do along the branch and intriguingly as the wind moved the surrounding vegetation it swayed. A master of disguise the Nightjar.

A sighting of a daytime roosting Nightjar has been a long time coming for me; more than 40 years. I was elated. After telling the warden, reserve staff as well as late leavers visiting the reserve came along to see him. I understand at the time of writing (9th July) he’s returned to the same branch and is still putting on a display to visitors.

Nightjar

 

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