Saturday, 9 August 2014


Quite amazingly, on Thursday night Dave Smith and I caught the 70th Nightjar of the season. 70!! The most I've ever managed to catch in a season before was less than half that number. The increased success is down to  a number of factors, an increased level of contract work leading to increased effort (I've only spent about 6 nights in a bed in the past 2 months!!), improved weather conditions and Paddy ringing on our rings. None the less it is an astounding achievement and one that I doubt we will ever manage to repeat in the future.

Male nightjar with radio-tag fitted to central tail feather

The 70 birds comprised 32 males (27 new and 5 re-traps from previous years), 11 females (10 new and 1 retrap), 8 juveniles and 19 pulli. We still have a couple of nests on the go and the possibility of finding a few more second brood nests or catching a few more second brood juvs still exists so the total may yet rise higher. Whilst getting foreign recoveries was never the main focus of this work let's hope we get one anyway as a fitting reward for all our efforts. 

Juvenile Nightjar just prior to release

Nightjar recoveries, of any type, are few and far between though as detailed on the BTO Demog Blog recently so I'm not holding my breath! We have now ringed over 300 and are yet to be notified of our first foreign movement. I am currently investigating the cost and practicality of fitting a number of geolocators to birds in the future to increase the return for effort and to greatly add to our knowledge on their winter destinations.

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Thanks to Paddy, Paul, Jane, Dave, Brendan, Damian, Paul Ashworth, Rob Sandham, Zac Hinchcliffe, Henry Cook, Chris Jones, Mike Shewring, Dan the `Eco man and Tansy (and anyone else I may have forgotten) for all their assistance and company in the between crepuscular hours.

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