Saturday 25 June – Crabtree Hill Leader: Alastair Fraser

This was our annual, evening field trip for Nightjars. We met initially at Cannop Ponds, Forest of Dean for a short
walk through the woodland alongside the lakes. It was fairly quiet; a couple of singing Blackcaps and Song
Thrushes and a family of Long-tailed Tits. There was a good count of Grey Wagtails with at least three family
groups up to seven strong. The Mandarin Ducks also had a good breeding season, at least 20 counted. Post
breeding, the males were in eclipse plumage and were rather less spectacular than earlier in the season.
We then reassembled in the car park just beyond Speech House and walked a circuit up to the watch point on
Crabtree Hill. On our walk we found two of our hoped-for species: Tree Pipit and Willow Warbler, with three
Buzzards circling around. At the watch point we settled down to wait for something to happen. After an
uncharacteristically brief period we heard a quiet churr of a Nightjar. As it darkened the churring increased and
was joined by a second. We saw a brief flight and a Nightjar settled on top of a small pine, not far away, churring
loudly. A few of us glimpsed a Woodcock disappearing over the tree tops, quickly followed by two more over our
heads and one flying in the opposite direction. On the way back we were treated to another Nightjar flight and the
calls of more Woodcock. (Thanks to Alastair for leading ) Alastair Fraser