This year has undoubtedly been a very poor breeding season for many species. Over the past two months Paddy Jenks and I have been trying to monitor and assess the productivity of a local Nightjar population - not an easy task in a large area of thicket stage conifer plantation that you can barely fight your way through and especially as the birds have evolved all sorts of tricks to avoid giving the game away! Until last night we had been unable to locate any active nests, 10 radio-tagged males were all behaving as if they didn't have young and observed female activity was almost nil! Needless to say no juveniles had appeared on the forest tracks either. We were coming to the conclusion that 2012 was going to be a total wash-out. Last night however, with an increase in temperatures, low winds, no rain and a sky full of moths things were definitely looking up. Success came early in the capture of our first female of the season and was followed several hours later, in the early hours of the morning, by pairs alarm-calling in two separate areas.
If this female has a nest we will be able to track her straight to it tonight and now we have heard alarm calling we know for definite there is at least something to find and roughly where it is! Tonight's drive to the site will be undertaken with a bit more excitement and optimism than of late!