Friday, 17 July 2015

That ain't no Nightjar!!

At the moment I am in the thick of two Nightjar contracts, one in South Wales and one in North Wales. This means that I spend most of my time in a state of near continuous sleep deprivation in midge infested forests or driving from one end of Wales to the other.  I'm not moaning, Nightjar's are one of my favourite birds and I am very lucky to be able to make a living studying them. The problem with Nightjar ringing, if there is one, is that because of the time of day and the places the nets are set that is pretty much all you catch - Nightjars or nothing. Last night in South Wales, Mike Shewring, Dan Carrington and I had a  large and welcome addition to the night's Nightjar catch. Whilst driving from one part of the forest to another I had noticed a couple of birds roosting on a low cliff just above the track. Having previously failed (by the narrowest of margins) to lamp one of them off the ledge I was pleased to see they were back again last night and willing to let me have another go! 

An iPhone record shot just before it ripped a great big gash in my thumb!!

I have ringed plenty of Ravens in my time, having studied them in Wales and Shropshire, but rarely did I manage to catch an adult. They seemed to be able to spot any sort of clap-net or cage trap as something to stay well away from, confirming their status as perhaps the world's most intelligent bird.  A short while later, wrestling one in the dark, it didn't seem like such a good idea after all!!  Ravens are well known for being able to tear flesh off carcasses and it appears you don't have to be dead for them to try!


  1. Hi Tony. Been following your blog religiously (not in the religious sense) for about the last year. You guys are doing an amazing job. You've got a few other Raven stories to tell, haven't you? Like the chick that puked dead rat puree into your mouth. Keep up the fantastic work. Baz

    1. Hi Baz,

      think that that tale has gained a bit in the telling!! It was dead Ewe puree and from the other end but yes, straight in the mouth!!

      Nearly had a good post yesterday that you would have appreciated! Pushed 34 Goosander ducklings into a net but EVERY SINGLE ONE of them got out, went through or went under :( Will be trying again soon with more help and a different net!!

  2. Brilliant bonus bird, and you've the scars to prove it by the sounds of it! You'll have worked out THE perfect midge barrier by now...?


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