Stephen Love phoned yesterday morning to say that he had been to Ambersham last week on what seemed like a perfect evening, but had not seen or heard any Nightjars, so I was just a teensy bit apprehensive about the planned trip! 

The party consisted of myself, my daughter Caroline, Geoff & Jo, Brian K-S, Di, Lesley M and Mary F. We arrived at Ambersham about 8.15 and had a wander around the west side of the road to see what else was about.  Heard Yellowhammer singing and a young Green Woodpecker calling, then it flew across in the distance.  I thought I may have heard a Tree Pipit but wasn’t sure, though we got good views of a Stonechat.  We then crossed back and walked up to the trig point, admiring the Bell Heather and Cross-leaved Heath (which was the paler of the two flowers – I checked in my book this morning!).  We heard the barking of deer and saw a couple too, one of which was looking at us looking at it.  A distant Song Thrush sang until pretty well dark.

Four excellent views of Woodcock roding, the last of which was very low and almost overhead – at least 3 different birds.

It got round to about 9.45 with no churring, when one started up to the south, kept going in short bursts, then stopped.  There were then at least two others to the east and north, then we had a brief view of one which dipped down over the ridge.  We moved slightly further south to where we had heard the first churr, one started up again somewhat nearer and a female flew right by us towards the churring, then back again.  White hankies were being waved gently by Jo and Di – but not sure if this was having much effect!

Finally one flew across to the east, approached a lone pine tree but didn’t come out the other side.  Loud churring commenced, and Lesley’s sharp eyes picked out the silhouette of the bird on a branch.  As she was explaining where it was it flew out and back across to the wood.

As we ambled back across the top Caroline spotted a Glow worm in the heather.

Lovely evening, made more enjoyable by the delight of Mary and Brian who had never had a Nightjar experience before!