Nightjars are always popular. The annual evening walk to look for, and listen to, these amazing birds is always one of the busiest guided walks we run here. This year was no exception, with 41 people coming along. What was interesting was that several of them said that they had been inspired to come by the footage of nightjars shown on Springwatch the previous week. They'd seen them on the telly, now they wanted to experience it for themselves. Fortunately "our" nightjars performed brilliantly, with one of the groups (with that many people, we had to split them into two groups) having three nightjars flying around their heads, and everyone had superb views of these fantastic, if slightly bizarre, birds, as the evening seemed filled with that wonderful, hypnotic "churring" sound. I've got a soft spot for nightjars - they're the reason I fell in love with heaths in the first place. When we started this project, back in 2002, there weren't any nighjars on our land here. This year there are 5 churring males, which is great news.
A quick field cricket update - we've heard up to 3 males calling at any one time, which should be a positive sign. We only introduced 4 males, so the males seemed to survive OK. Hopefully the females did too, and next year we'll have more calling. What with crickets calling and nightjars churring, June evenings could get pretty noisy around here!
The other good news was the first record of green hairstreak for the reserve. It's not a particularly rare butterfly, but being green, it's often hard to spot. What makes it exciting is that it's yet another heathland/open habitat species that has colonised the reserve. It's sometimes hard to remember that, a little over five years ago, the whole place was a commercial conifer plantation!