Sunday, 21 March 2010

Nightjars in The Gambia

I found these Long Tailed Nightjars in a small patch of woodland beside an old mineral mine behind the beach lodge we were staying at. I came across them for the first time just before night fall and, as their ghostly silouhettes fluttered around the leaf litter, I dont mind saying I was a bit spooked out. I've only ever heard our own European Nightjars though so it was pretty amazing to see ones with huge tails! I went back to the woods the next morning thinking that they'd be sleepy and wouldn't notice me poking a lens in their faces- I was wrong. They were just as skittish as they had been the previous evening but at least this time I could see where they'd land. Remembering the advice my guide had given me about Puff Adders ("Don't step on their privates!), I crawled cautiously through the leaf litter to try and get a frame filler. Unfortuantley, Nightjars are a lot better at avoiding predators/photographers than I am at stalking Nightjars so I only got some simple portrait shots. What a fantastic bird though.

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