Nightjar. Andy Hay RSPB

On a balmy summers evening the mysterious nightjars were enjoyed at the Local Nature Reserve

The East Devon District Council Countryside teams’ second nightjar event will take place on Tuesday 5 July.

Earlier in June the public were shown around the Local Nature Reserve by Countryside Ranger Nathan Robinson, they learnt about heathland management and the elusive nightjars, which in the past were referred to as ‘ghastly goatsuckers’.

The group were treated to a beautiful summers evening as well as spectacular views of the nocturnal bird.

During the evening the Countryside Rangers conducted part one of their annual nightjar survey and were delighted to find that there were at least two pairs of nightjars using the site.

Nathan said:

Hearing the nightjar is always exciting; we were lucky enough to spot a couple of these mysterious birds and have fantastic views of them foraging for food.

The nightjars choose sites such as Trinity Hill as they prefer open heath with scattered trees. Their camouflage is perfect for resting in the daytime amongst the heather and bracken, while the trees present great perches from which they can take off to display to each other and hunt for food. The moths and beetles that live on the heath are what they’re after when they feed at dusk.

We hope to see them again later in the year when we conduct the seconds part of the nightjar survey.’’

Those interested in finding out more about the nightjar and how it became known as the ‘ghastly goatsucker’ can join the Countryside team on Tuesday 5 July for the second survey of the season. Booking is essential and can be done either online: or over the phone: 01395 517557.