Over the last ten days PLT have been busy hosting an Earth Expedition. The group members have engaged themselves in discussions, scientific research and engaging with the local kids and community.
Pre breakfast bird walks have been an optional addition with myself taking some of the group to experience the various habitats and range of bird species that use them. Some interesting birds have been seen but the best was to wait for the trip to see the White-winged Nightjar.
The journey to Nightjar land is longer these days following flooding but there was an air of anticipation on the journey there. You don’t have to be a bird-watcher to have an appreciation for this amazing bird.
Darkness fell and the large group began to spread out to look for a nightjar. Joe located a male in the long grass and people were guided in to photograph the bird. A second bird was located by Jorge some distance away but it was not clear what he had found so I was directed to join him to clear the matter up.
He had found a female / juvenile White-winged Nightjar but it had moved from its original position revealing a jewel in the crown which he quickly caught in his hands. As I approached Jorge I could see a happy but slightly mystified look on his face. He announced that he had a bird that he was not sure what it was.
I was intrigued and slightly baffled as Jorge knew most of the species on the reserve. The moment had arrived and El Magico slowly opened his hands to reveal the bird. I instantly had an OMG moment a bird I had searched high and low for over the years with not even a murmur of a call to indicate its presence.
I went into controlled crazee mode (Not quite as mad as the Gannets at Beddington Farm!) as I took the Black-masked Finch into my hand and showed it to the group around me. My reaction was apparently priceless a life bird which complets my list of Laguna Blanca Cerrado specials. The bird also features on an EE Youtube compilation video which is worth watching.
The bird briefly took centre stage as it was photographed before being released into the night sky.