Scientific: Caprimulgus europaeus
Cymraeg: Troellwr Mawr
Scarce, though increasing, breeding summer visitor. Found in conifer plantations among replanted clear-fell areas.
1 coming out of bracken, near Rhandirmwyn, 21 July.
2 territorial males, Crychan Forest, July. 1 calling Abergorlech June. Untypically found in forestry plantation restocks c4-5 years old in elevated but sheltered sites.
The joint RSPB/BTO National Nightjar Survey in the county uncovered the following birds. A singing male and a female in the Crychan Forest and 2 males and 1 female in both the Caeo and Brechfa Forests . All the birds were located amongst re-planted conifers, most of which were between 6-10 feet high. There seems to be ample suitable breeding habitat, as yet unused, particularly in the Brechfa area. The future for the species appears a lot brighter than it did after the last survey in 1981.
An individual churring was noted in Brechfa Forest on 6th June and was joined by a second bird on 8th June. A single bird was also present in Caeo Forest on 6th July. The supposed “birdless” nature of upland conifer forests makes them unpopular venues for birdwatchers, yet no doubt other pairs of this species as well as other scarce Carmarthenshire species such as Long-eared Owl await discovery in recently restocked forestry blocks in the north of the county.
Records for two separate locations were received, for Dolgafros on the 27th and 31st May and the northern part of Brechfa Forest during June. Several sites are now established as Nightjar ‘stake outs’ in the conifer forests of upland Carmarthenshire. How many other sites await discovery in the north of the county or indeed elsewhere?
Recorded at 3 upland conifer forests: 1 male at Dolgafros, Brechfa; 3 males in the southern Crychan Forest and 3 (2 males, 1 female) in the Caeo Forest on 24th July
At least 3 males summered at Dolgafros, Brechfa; with 1 in the Crychan Forest. This species is probably much under-recorded, given the amount of suitable habitat, particularly in the Brechfa Forest complex.
Churring males were noted in the Brechfa Forest at Dolgafros (2) (immature) and Rhydcymaerau (3), the latter being a new site.
The paucity of records for this nocturnal species probably does not reflect its true status in the county with only 2 males at Dolgafros on 22nd May and 2 near Rhydcymerau on 27th noted. The Brechfa Forest has several more areas of clear fell which are likely to harbour additional birds.
A search of the many areas of clear fell in the Caio Forest at dusk during the summer revealed 6, possibly 7, churring males. To the East in the Crychan Forest, 3 pairs were reported summering. The two sites in the Brechfa Forest that are usually occupied every year were not reported on.
The first recorded bird was heard churring at about 10.30pm in Pembrey Forest on 28th May. Another was located in Caeo Forest on 13th June. In Glasfynydd Forest there was at least one territory within the Carmarthenshire area and the same was true of Crychan Forest.
7/8 territories at south Crychan Forest.
Caio Forest held c6 on 31st May. 1 at Crychan Forest, near Halfway, Llandovery on 18th June. 6 territories found at south Crychan Forest.
A male at Sifigwm, Brechfa Forest, on 20th June. 2 pair there subsequently. 3 at Llanllwni on 27th June [2 there on 5th August]. A single at Cynnant, Cynghordy on 28th June.
15 territorial males were surveyed and at least 10 different males were caught in one part of Brechfa Forest as part of a 2-year radio tracking study into the breeding biology and foraging behaviour of this species in upland conifer plantations. Of the 10 males caught one was a retrap from 2002 and 3 were retraps originally ringed in 2004 (2 as adults and 1 nestling), 7 nests were located and at least 7 young fledged. A male brooding 2 small young was killed in the nest by a weasel.
8 territorial males were identified in the Carmarthenshire part of Crychan Forest and 7 different birds were caught. Two of these were retraps, one originally caught in 2002 and the other from 2003. Three nests were located. A pair of radio-tagged birds reared 3 chicks from 2 broods and another pair had their eggs predated. A male ringed in Crychan in 2002 (as a probable breeding bird) was found breeding in Glasyfynydd Forest in neighbouring Breconshire.
NB. All of the above information was provided by A.V. Cross working in partnership with the Brecknock Wildlife Trust and the Forestry Commission with funding supplied by the Species Challenge Fund from the Countryside Council for Wales. It is hoped that a full paper on this work will appear in a future copy of Welsh Birds.
Churring males as follows: Crychan Forest 6 July 14th, Pembrey Forest one May 16th and Cynnant, Cynghordy June 7th.
The only report received was of 2 Crychan Forest June 15th.