Somerset Ornithological Society - Bird News
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Field Meeting

The next S.O.S. field meeting is this coming Wednesday, June 12th. Meet at Stock Hill Forestry car park at 9.00 p.m.

The car park is at map ref. ST548512 on a minor road going due north from Wells, just northwest of Green Ore.
On A39 at Green Ore traffic lights, go NW on B3135 towards Cheddar, then next left at crossroads towards Wells, and after 1/2 mile the obvious car park is on the left.

Hopefully we will have a dry evening, and I will meet you there.

Re: Field Meeting

On a dry but breezy late evening, after the earlier mist had cleared, 8 of us (6 members and 2 visitors) failed to hear a single Nightjar up to 22:45 hours in the area they have been regularly using over the past 5 years-or-so. This poses the question, have they yet arrive, have they been disturbed by the current use of giant tree-felling machinery working in the adjoining block of trees, or have they deserted this site because the firs have become too tall and dense? Any news of them at Stock Hill Forestry this year would be most welcome.

Jeff Hazell.

Re: Field Meeting

Jeff, me and the wife had 3 churring birds on Sunday (9th) on the way back from the levels - they were all easily heard from where we parked (I don't use the car park, it's a doggers haunt, as it was that night, some guy asked us was he in the right place lol). We arrived a bit later than I would normally plan and we had them churring between 22.00 - 22.30. It was a still night, probably helped.

I spoke to KEV yesterday and like you, he'd been up there and had no sign of them.

Re: Nightjars Stockhill

Hello Jeff,

Was up at the Stockhill site on Monday 3rd June. No "churring" but a female was flying around just before 10.00pm.


Richard (Hastings)

Re: Nightjars Stockhill - 25th June

Visited this evening (25th June)- usual Stock Hill site but no sound nor sight of any Nightjars up to 10.25pm. Did see a very nice Tawny Owl at Draycott Sleights on the way back over the Mendips though. There has been a significant amount of logging activity in the area and I wonder if this has disturbed them from their normal locations?

Re: Nightjars Stockhill - 25th June

I would not have thought the logging activity would be the key reason for their abscence. Nightjar prefer fresh clear fell sites that have not been tidied up too much. Once trees become established (canopy closure) and the area looses its openness the conditions are no longer favourable for them. I have not been up there for a few years but if the logging is creating open habitat then it is possible that they will return. The cold spring may also not have encouraged them to stay but it would be better to assess this as part of the wider national / regional picture.

Re: Nightjars Stockhill - 25th June

The logging activity at Stockhill this year appears to be mainly "cleaning up" and widening the tracks. I have not noticed any large scale clearance of any area. But the noise of daytime activity cannot have encouraged Nightjars to stay. I have been to Stockhill in ideal conditions twice thi year and seen and heard nothing. The site they have used for the past 5 years appears to me to have too many trees which are too tall, so I have listened and watched on the other side of the road - equally to no effect. I have also been to Burrington Ham with a zero result. All rather sad

Re: Nightjars Stockhill - 25th June

What's sad? They are up there and they've also been noted on the avon/somerset border. So you've been unlucky, doesn't mean we no longer have local Nightjars.