30th May & 17th June 2017. This year once again saw me pay a visit to Forêt du Gavre north of Nantes to watch Nightjars (Caprimulgus europaeus). A perfect afternoon of warm sunshine led to a calm and warm evening at one of my preferred spots in the forest where I settled down at 9.30 pm to await the performance. Right on cue at sunset, but while it was still bright, the first bird began churring and a few minutes later the aerial displaying began. And what a display it was ! Two birds approached me on the track and flew around checking me out from only a few metres away then one male settled onto the ground very close for almost a minute. Probably my best ever views of Nightjars. Needless to say I’d left my camera in the car so no photos from the first visit. There was more wing-clapping and churring up until it got dark but I vowed to return in a couple of weeks for more of the same. Which is exactly what happened on 17th June and although the views weren’t quite as close I ended up seeing more birds during the evening; a total of 5 individuals seen plus several others heard in the general area. Great birds and always worth the effort and the mosquitos !
Churring Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), Forêt du Gavre, 17th June 2017