Well this is going to be a convoluted tale. Last week I was in my wood and a chap I had met before came and had a chat. He is a bird photographer and local ornithologist. He has some photos published in an old book on birds of Monmouthshire. Any way we were going over what I had seen and what I had not seen, I mentioned the Redstart and we discussed putting up nest boxes for them, he thought they were more likely to use them if there was a ‘slot’ at the front rather than a round hole.
Incidentally, I am now reading a book called ‘ the search for the rarest bird in the world’ and that is a Nightjar, however this is a Nechisar nightjar which is found in the rift valley in Ethiopia. I said this would be a convoluted tale…. It is of interest to me because some years ago I travelled down the rift valley and went to Lake Nechisar, where incidentally I nearly ended up being a meal for the local Nile Crocodiles, but that’s another story.
To convolute the tale still further, the last book I read was called the Lagoon and it is not about Nightjars, it is about a lagoon in the Greek island of Lesbos where Aristotle spent a lot of time. I mention this because I have also spent several weeks in Lesbos, studying the marine life of this lagoon and basically checking up on Aristotle’s findings. So two books about rather obscure places both of which I have visited and know quite well.
Back to Nighjars, the next day after my conversation with the local ornithologist, I was back at the wood and met up with my neighbor, a local smallholder and she told me a tale about a strange repetitive noise that sounded mechanical and how she had sent her husband out at dusk to check to see if it was something being produced by their farm vehicles. He discovered that it was not and seemed to be coming form my bit of wood. She went on to say that my other neighbor had also heard the strange noise and had also checked round his property to see if an alarm or something was causing it.
She reported all this to here children (grown up) and they found that it was caused by a nightjar and also got the sound recording of it from the RSPB web site and this proved that what they had heard was a nightjar. Evidently it was there every night for about a week.
So I think I will add it to my species list even though I have not seen or heard it.