Saturday, 27 June 2015

Taking scouts to see Nightjar


Today I took my Scout group to the Mendips to look for Nightjar.  In the afternoon it started raining and I thought we might have to cancel the evening.  Then, the weather cleared and looked like it was going to be dry, fine and still - perfect for watching Nightjar hunting insects.



Scouts looking for Nightjar (sorry for the rubbish photo taken on my phone at dusk), Stockhill, Somerset
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Most of my Scout group don't know anything about birds and so I think it is really important to try and get them interested.  Even if none of them become birders, at least after this evening they may appreciate them and notice them around them.

I had run workshops for Scouts before, but this was the first time a session was allocated to taking them out birding.

First we all met up for a Scout session, going scavenger hunting in the woods.  Then I led them to walk up to where the Nightjar had been seen this year.  I was wondering if it was still too early, but then Dad heard one churring.  We played the churring sound and wing clapping to everyone and showed them a photo pointing out the white in the wing bars.

There were 15 of us out and it was hard keeping everyone quiet.  Then suddenly Dad heard one churring, after that it it went silent.  A few Nightjar started churring in different places and it was really exciting as the noise was unusual and quite spooky.  It was amazing to watch the group so excited at just hearing a bird.  It was a little bit gusty and parents were arriving to pick up the scouts, so by 10.10 pm we  headed back to the car park.


Scouts looking for Nightjar, Stockhill, Somsetset
Photograph taken by Helena Craig


Scouts looking for Nightjar, Stockhill, Somerset
Photograph taken by Helena Craig




Scouts looking for Nightjar, Stockhill, Somerset
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

It was brilliant to see everyone mesmerised even if only for a few minutes.  We decided to bring them back next year in May, when they are seen an hour earlier.  Maybe we can also take them out birding again, looking for Starling perhaps.


Scouts looking for Nightjar (sorry for the rubbish photo taken on my phone at dusk), Stockhill, Somserset
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Scouts looking for Nightjar (sorry for the rubbish photo taken on my phone at dusk), Stockhill, Somserset
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Scouts looking for Nightjar (sorry for the rubbish photo taken on my phone at dusk), Stockhill, Somerset
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Scouts looking for Nightjar (sorry for the rubbish photo taken on my phone at dusk), Stockhill, Somserset
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



About the Writer




Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig 



Mya-Rose Craig is a 12 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She is looking forward to going Mountain Gorilla Trekking in East Africa in the summer and watching Penguins in Antarctica in December 2015, which will be her 7th continent. She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter












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