Thursday, July 24, 2008


A Nightjar excursion it was. I've been considering a particular site for a while, trouble is it's half an hour across the moor, no path for most of the way and the return is an upward slope meaning you can't navigate easily. It's rough ground, there are lots of pools and channels and it's a midge and mossie paradise.

Getting out there is easy and by two thirds of the way across I could hear a Nightjar so it was bingo, good hunch. The Roe Deer out on the open moor were rather surprised to see a human at that time and coughed and barked at me.

When I got in close I had some excellent views of singing birds, one even perched right in front of me briefly. Hunting and calling birds were zooming about, all was brilliant. Midges and their ilk were entirely ignorant of the supposed powers of the so called insect repellent I had plastered over my head and hands however and after half an hour I reckoned it was time to head for the vehicle.

Turn the volume up for Nightjar song.

Now walking out there Jupiter had been slightly to my left so I reckoned that if I kept the planet over my right shoulder on my return I should just about be ok. Why I had not taken a compass with me I do not know. Initially all seemed well and when the International Space Station zoomed overhead I was carrying on jauntily. I came to some small pools and something large fluttered by my ear, a Nightjar treated me to half a minute's hovering and circling whilst it searched for moths low over the ling.

There goes the ISS

A bit further along I was missing the ponds I was expecting. The Moon rose to my right. I finally hit the track I was expecting, I seemed to be on it before I'd realised, bit of relief I tramped on. I should have stopped and thought but I was a bit puffed out and just carried on. Briefly heard a distant Nightjar, that was reassuring as I was expecting that. But the track didn't seem right and I couldn't understand how I could be seeing a tractor working in fields to my left (all the lights on).

Of course I'd gone miles off, Jupiter had moved more than I expected, I'd not put a good enough mental picture in my head before I started, it was a disaster that was almost inevitable. I did eventually figure out where I'd got to, wrong dale. But instead of 45 minutes back to the car it took me two and a half hours and I now have rather weary legs. I did see the ISS once more and heard a few Tawny Owls. Next time I'll take a compass.


Anonymous said...

just read about nightjar spotting and getting lost think i recognised the pond picture,did u have permission to be there as right to roam is for access only and not for taking part in any activity(eg birding)

darrell j prest said...

'access only'????????????
no birding allowed????

get a life you *******
nice post alastair sounds like fun!!

Anonymous said...

never mind get a life you *****,some people need to make a living off the moors and can do without sad individuals like yourself causing disturbance at this time of night,no species of bird in particular but everythings best left settled at dusk!!!

darrell j prest said...

sorry alastair but this f**k*r has me wound up.

so 'anonymous' i take it your gamekeeper? only because only a coward of a gamekeeper could use the name 'anonymous'
you say 'everythings best left settled at dusk' so why do you think they called them 'nightjars'? oh yes because they come out at night,so the only thing to disturb at night would be a 'gamekeeper' setting out on his evil doubt when your caught you will use the same excuse as the fascists 'i was only following orders off my master' im only presuming your a gamekeeper as your previous message has the tone of such a person.

***sorry alastair***

Anonymous said...

no not a gamekeeper,but i enjoy shooting ,im not thick i know nightjars come out at night,dont think keepers have evil ways either,have lots of keeper friends who allways say that you sad boys dont realise that all moorland and lowground birds benifit from their influence,you just proved how nieve you birders are,only one thing your bothered about,getting a slight sight of a bird,doesnt matter what damage you do in the process.SAD,SAD,SAD

Anonymous said...

i agree these men arent bothered about the law or whats suffering from their presence,just as long as they get to see what they go for,about time they realised just what gamekeepers do for the area!!!!!1

East Ayton Birding said...

I would have thought that if everyone was acting within the law, there wouldn't be a conflict of interest, or is that the crux of the problem.

What time is access on the moors allowed - 10am onwards?

darrell j prest said...

'have lots of keeper friends who allways say that you sad boys dont realise that all moorland and lowground birds benifit from their influence,you just proved how nieve you birders are'

firstly 4 spelling mistakes in the above,so........yes you are THICK,i think we will all take that as read now.

exactly how do 'gamekeepers benefit ' (notice how i spelt that correctly!!!) first off please don't (ooh another one with correct spelling )say how all the songbirds are suffering and all us birdwatchers are raptor lovers.
gamekeepers are only interested in how many red grouse they can rear on the land come the 12th august everything else is fair game for keepers are creating a false habitat and levels of red grouse,i watch an area of moorland which is not 'estate'(i use the word estate as like a council estate people go around with guns and no regard for the law' land and only have 2 pair of red grouse breeding,a similar sized area which is 'estate' land has over 50+ pairs,so which is more natural habitat?
nature is more dependent on weather than man,man creates species levels which he considers right.
hope your happy killing things for fun.

only a coward could kill a pigeon with a gun,a real man would watch a peregrine kill a pigeon.