Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Nightjar in the Road

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Last night, while driving home from my softball practice (where the orchard orioles were courting and the common nighthawks were peenting), I caught a flash of eyeshine in the middle of our gravel township road. It was a whip-poor-will sitting there, his eyes catching the light from my headlights.

He (I assume females are on eggs now) was probably soaking up the remaining heat of the day from the road's surface. Or he might have just been using the road as a song stage, calling out his name over and over in that lilting whistle. Or he could have been taking a dust bath.

As I pulled closer and confirmed the identification, I realized I had my camera with me. I stopped the car, reached for the camera, looked up and.... he was gone.

I have no photo of a North American nightjar to share, but I can re-share this image of a fiery-necked nightjar, photographed on the gravel road to Bonamanzi Game Park in Zululand in South Africa. It's from last summer, but it looks pretty much like the bird I saw last night here on a dusty road in southeastern Ohio.

Funny how similar birds do similar things on opposite sides of the world.

Fiery-necked nightjar along the road to Bonamanzi in Zululand, RSA.


On May 24, 2007 at 1:18 PM Anonymous said...

The best looks I've ever gotten at whips or chucks have been along gravel country roads. If you watch for the eyeshine while driving slowly, it can be surprising how many you see.