Bird's Eye View of Bute

The Nightjar

The Nightjar
The Nightjar


A Birds Eye View of Bute

One of Bute's most elusive birds has at last been found the “Nightjar”.

All good stories usually have a start -a middle - and an end, but this one I think, will just have a start and an end as the chances of me seeing another nightjar are very remote.



It all started in the mid nineties when I went up to the Dhu Loch with A.N.Other , to camp, to catch sight of them as they fly at dusk and dawn to feed on caterpillars, well things went from bad to worse, what with no sightings, nor the churring sounds that they make, in fact nothing was moving at all except for my partners Jack Rusell dog who went walkabout, (ran) after a Roe Deer and failed to return.
Well , Nightjars forgotten about, I went in search for the dog, but to no avail, it had done a runner and it's built-in Sat -Nav must have been switched off, still I wandered about calling for it. then I saw a small green light amongst the heather. It was eerie, I was glad that there was only one of them, or I would have caught up and passed the erring dog. Torch on, and I found it was a Glow Worm. Now my book says that they are absent from the north, yet here was one on Bute. Into a wee box with it to show A.N. Other then let it go .
Well the wee dog's Sat Nav must have been on all the time, as it headed for home, as it obviously did not relish a night under canvas.

Now we take a big leap ahead to the present time. I found plenty of birds over the years, and photographed plenty y more, but never a Nightjar, until a forest worker for the Bute Estate who was cutting down waste scrub in one of their forests, spooked one. At first he thought it was an injured Sparrow Hawk, as it was acting strange, then he saw two eggs on the ground, and it all became clear to him, he now recognised the bird as a Nightjar. Well, others were informed about it's whereabouts, as was I , and I went to look for it. Now a needle in a haystack would have been easier to find.. This ground nesting bird has incredible camouflage. You could be ten feet away from it and not see it.
Well , as another person had just left the area, and having spooked the bird, I did not want to do the same, so I left.
The finder took me to within a about twenty feet away from it and I got some images of it without spooking it, but it is very hard to get a good shot as it blends in with the background extremely well.
I hope that it's two eggs hatch out and the chicks fledge without any hassle from foxes or mink , or from man, as a rare bird
attracts many bird watchers.

It looks like a Kestrel, but as they fly during the day, you may not be confused, but don't bet on It ! The churring sound it makes is like the sound you will get as you vibrate your tongue in your mouth. When looking for a mate they will clap their wings above their head
With it having eggs, it has obviously got a partner, so you will have a double chance of seeing one once the eggs hatch and they are both looking for food for them , but as I can't tell you where they are, I think you would be better off looking for Kestrels, as there are more of them about. Not a lot, but more that two.

Well this is the end of the story for me, as the chances of seeing another are just as rare as this one , but maybe just maybe.

Well it came to nothing, as the nest was abandoned.

Norrie Mulholland

First Published in the Buteman 04-09-2009

Pagehits: 967 (Today: 1)