I went with Steve H and Holywell Birder to Acton Fell last night to look for Nightjars.
There were many places which looked good for Nightjars around the Slaley area but Acton Fell also gave us a good chance of seeing Owls as well.
We parked on the roadside overlooking a clearing in the plantation, which bordered onto Moorland.
We had a quick walk into the forest but headed back soon after to try and get a good view of a Nightjar whilst it was still light.
Red Grouse were calling from the moors behind the clearing and 27 Greylags flew over.
BH Gulls and Curlews were constantly flying over and calling which made things more confusing as we were listening for the Churring of the Nightjars.
We were sitting on the edge of the clearing when I saw something out of the corner of my eye, flying towards the forest.
It was a Nightjar – Lifer, we all got good views and it was still light enough to see the bird in colour rather than just a dark shadow.
Soon after we heard a bird churring from the edge of the forest where we had walked past before.
We scanned the trees but it was to well camouflaged and high up in the trees to find. A few minutes later it flew over the clearing before landing.
The Nightjar in flight looks completely different to what I imagined and looks to me like a cross between a tern and an owl.
As well as the Nightjars, a Cuckoo was calling from the forest behind us and a Woodcock was Roading overhead.
Before we left the clearing the Nightjars began churring again and we had brief views of them in between the trees. Another flew a few meters past my head!
We met another group of birders on the way out of the forest who had had similar success to us.
As we were leaving two more Nightjars flew over the car and back into the forest.
We got out to see if they would come back but instead we heard two Tawny Owls calling near the car.
In total we had 5 Nightjars!