Rare nightjar seen at nature reserve

13:20 12 July 2014

Nightjar

Nightjar

Archant

A rare bird, of which there are just 2,000 pairs in the UK, has been caught on camera at Exmouth’s Bystock Nature Reserve.

The number of birds, whose population had been decimated because of the change to their habitat over decades, has recovered thanks to the work of wildlife charities and local volunteers. Their distinctive drill-like call rings out loud and is unmistakable.

They were once called the goatsucker, as it was believed it fed from goat’s milk during the night.

They are mainly nocturnal birds, spending most of the day on the ground, with very large eyes and a large gape to catch insects, mainly moths.

John Deakins spotted the bird and took a few snaps and added: “I have been fortunate enough to watch and photograph nightjars at Bystock for several years.

“These migrant birds are nocturnal and during the day will rest and blend into their ground nests by camouflaging themselves as tree bark.”

A spokesman for the Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) said: “They are a beautiful bird and a local group of volunteers has adopted the area. Nightjars like a mixture of habitats, heathland and young trees and the work from the local group with advice from the DWT over the last five to ten years has made the difference.”

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