Join us to spot Nightjars on our walks

Other features that add to the curious nature of the Nightjar are its’ large gape (which help them to catch largish flying insects in flight and at night), and strong bristles at its’ bill corners which help to guide prey into the wide mouth. Their black eyes are also large which helps them to see better at night. And to top things off they have also held the bizarre nickname through the ages of ‘goatsucker’, as it was once believed that they stole milk from goats! This may be because they were often seen around livestock at night, where their insect prey may have been plentiful due to dung.

Thankfully this species have been taken off the UK Birds of Conservation Concern’s ‘Red List’ (those under serious threat/decline) and now sit in the ‘Amber List’ which highlights birds whose conservation status is of moderate concern. However, their numbers are nowhere near what they once were due mainly to habitat loss and other human influenced factors. The dramatic decline of insect numbers in our present biodiversity crisis for example is a particularly worrying state of affairs. Despite this though, we believe that numbers of breeding pairs may actually be on the rise at Trinity Hill, which is extremely encouraging. We will of course have to keep monitoring this into the future, so fingers crossed! Hopefully our seasonal grazing of the site with Red Devon cattle may be making a positive difference by boosting the local dung beetle population.

It is of course extremely important to help these birds, and indeed all nature under threat, in any way we can. With this in mind, if you visit the reserve then please stick to the paths. This is of critical importance for dogs too which can be a great disturbance to ground nesting birds, so while they are welcome, please keep them under very close control or on a lead. (Please pick up after them too! We don’t ask this just to keep people happy; dog mess poses a serious threat to the fragile heathland ecosystem through nutrient loading and the addition of unwelcome chemicals found in both food and medicines).

Join our walk which costs £10 per adult.