Sunday, 16 June 2019

No Nonsense Noctural Nightjar

Pretty much all birders keep lists of some kind. For some it is the list that is the be all and end all of the hobby whist for many lists are just a by product of the recordings they make of their observations although these lists are undoubtedly also a motivation to search for and see new birds. My interest in lists has declined the older I get but there are still three lists which excite me. My self-found Norwegian list, my Maridalen (local patch) list and my Oslo list. I think for a Maridalen tick that I would literally drop everything if I got a phone call but I am a bit more relaxed about my Oslo list and would probably go the next day.

My Oslo list is (now) 231 species but that is only good enough for second place with Eric Roualet having 238 (it is rather telling about the birding interest in Oslo that the #1 and #2 places are taken by immigrants who arrived here as adults…). Eric has lived here longer than me and was very regular to Gressholmen (vital for waders) but has now moved out of Oslo which gives me a chance although not far enough that he can’t easily see birds here ūüėČ

Seven of the last ten new birds on my Oslo list were self found which is how I like it but if I am to close that gap then I will have to increase my local twitching. One big gap on my Oslo list was Nightjar. The species is regularly recorded in one area but I have always been waiting to hear one in Maridalen. Given that this area is only 15 minutes drive from home and that this year’s singing male has seemed quite easy to hear then I thought why not. I have never actually seen a Nightjar in Norway with just a few records of them singing at distance until last year when I heard one singing very close in the dark. In the UK I did see some displaying in the twilight but never had good views so if I was going to twitch one in Norway it would be nice to see it well. And that is exactly what happened on Thursday night. After a couple of cold wet days Thursday evening was dry and Per Christian and I headed off into the forest with mozzie spray and camera ready. Unfortunately, I did not take tripod or superzoom but the night was one to remember none-the-less. The bird started singing very close to where we had been waiting at 2315 and over the next 25 minutes we had an amazing display with it flying around us, landing close to us, churring, wing clapping and giving two types of call. It was using an area around some electricity lines where the trees had been cleared and it frequently nearly flew into the cables with only a last minute stall allowing it to avoid them. Sometimes it was flying around so slowly that it seemed to defy physics that it was still airborne.

My pictures and video (hand held bazooka in the dark) have definite room for improvement but for a first attempt with the species I am happy.

Nightjar (nattravn) at 23:26. Taken at ISO12800 1/100sec

the white spot in the wings show this to be a male

taken at 23:17 ISO6400 1/160sec
here it was wing clapping although I am not sure if the sound comes when the wings are at the top (as here) or when they are at the bottom

churring from a tree 

here it landed close to us (as a result of use of playback) and proceeded to display and quietly chur (as can be heard in the video)

ISO12800 1/100sec.

1 comment:

  1. Haywards Heath Birder16 June 2019 at 20:19

    Please - don't forget your tripod. Ever again.