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Last night we decided to spend a few hours in
pursuit of Nightjars on “Sarn Helen” a former Roman road connecting Nidum
(Neath) with Segontium (Caernarfon). These nocturnal or crepuscular birds with bristles
around their mouths (to perhaps assist them in the capture of insects whilst in
flight) are an endangered species and their conservation status has been given
a Red Alert. The Nightjar season is from May to September spending the rest of
the year in Africa so we really had left our visit very late in the season to
try and catch these elusive birds..
Anyway we had two 60ft nets set up and ready to
go for about 8.30pm. The nets were about 150metres apart and as it got dark it wasn’t
long before the trill of the male bird could be heard as he flew around our
heads. Not long later it flew into the net. Just as the male had been processed
the female also flew into the net. Since in a square kilometer there is
probably only one mating pair we decided it was probably wise to pack up rather
than risk catching the same birds a second time.
The bird above is the female. The male bird has white tips to its outer tail feathers.
Head shot of the male.

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