Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Every day since the 24th November 2010 when I was treated to a spectacular kingfisher sunset I've longed to see the kingfisher on the stretch of the Severn that runs through Dolerw Park in Newtown. But the big freeze lasted and lasted and the new path on the other bank got busier and I thought all the kingfishers dead or settled into new territories. This morning, a patch of red caught my eye. At first I thought it was a robin on the riverside mud having a drink, but my gaze triggered flight and turquoise ignition. The river is so low that it's showing its soft gums and sharp knuckles.

Last week I had some exciting sightings just metres from the Powys border in Shropshire - a glossy male ring ouzel with a perfect white crescent bib perched on a stile close to the foot of Corndon Hill, and, about 10.30 pm on 14th April, I think I glimpsed courting nightjars near Bishop's Castle and again, virtually on Offa's Dyke, near Mellington.

My friend's car has a huge sunroof. I saw a pale flick, a float and a bank, then another bird with nuthatch coloured underparts and upheld wings. Though the image was brief, I knew that they didn't have the density or composure of owls. WhenI saw a similar pair a couple of miles on I was reminded of the agility of hawks. There are several small woods along the B4385 and the land rises south of this to the Kerry Ridgeway in a series of quite secret brackeny cwms. At certain points on the Ridgeway I've often remarked that these cwms look like something from Thomas Hardy's Dorset. I wonder if anyone else thinks it likely that these were nightjars?


  1. Hi Chris, mid-April is too early for Nightjars.
    They start arriving in mid-May, one of the last summer visitors if not the last.

  2. Thank-you Geoff - I did wonder about the early date. Do you have any idea what agile, hawk-like birds I might have seen flying to and fro in the dark, please?
    I share your enthusiasm for sessile oak woods, especially in April.