Nightjars at Cookworthy Forest, 5th July 2024, mid-Devon Branch

Despite raining all day, the sky miraculously cleared at 7:30pm for this evening event at Cookworthy Forest. Turnout was understandably low, given the weather, but a group of five gathered at the car park with hope of seeing the Nightjars. A walk down the main track into the forest while waiting for dusk revealed Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, Siskin and Linnets and a fly-by Sparrowhawk. Song Thrushes were singing loudly from all corners! The sky seemed to get lighter as the rainclouds dispersed, but conditions seemed just about right by 9:30pm. Soon we heard some churring from at least three different locations, along with some contact calls from elsewhere. Then we saw some birds flying, appearing and disappearing very silently, including on coming right over our heads. Finally we were treated to some good views of a churring bird sat on a branch of a dead tree. We left at about 10:30pm, happy that what had initially looked to be a total washout had ended as a very successful evening!