Nightjars are elusive summer visitors the size of a large thrush, arriving from Africa in mid-May and leaving at summer’s end. Once they were quite common in North Wales, on scrubby hillsides and sand-dunes, but today are mainly found on coastal heathland and recently-felled forestry. They nest on the ground and are camouflaged to avoid predators – so are difficult for us to see. Luckily they come to life at dusk, when males make a distinctive churring call, perched on a post or dead branch, and both sexes fly around hunting moths.
NWWT is proud to have several nature reserves with breeding nightjars, and you are welcome to join us on a guided walk at dusk. Churring is guaranteed, and close views quite likely! Options are Cors Bodgynydd in Gwydyr Forest (June 8 and 16) or Gwaith Powdwr near Penrhyndeudraeth (June 15 and 20).
Glow-worms are another elusive species best seen at dusk, when the flightless females emit a green light from their rear ends. The males fly around at dusk looking for the green light, and that’s how they get together! They eat snails which are commonest on limestone, so the Great Orme is a good place to catch up with them. You could join the NWWT walk there on June 22, when you will also be able to examine moths attracted to a moth trap. Our leaders will identify them for you, and outline their life histories.
36 amazing nature reserves to visit!
If you can’t attend any of the events mentioned above, you can still visit the nature reserves mentioned – full details on our website. If you do go at dusk, please go with a companion for health and safety reasons, and remember to take a torch. Don’t forget to let us know what you see!