photo Jenny Steer
Three incredible evenings up on Fire Beacon Hill, Sidmouth. One with Jenny Steer photographer trying out the hankies; one with Tony Whitehead (artist and RSPB) preparing for our walk and getting to know the territories of the birds and then with 16 or so participants and Thelma Hulbert Gallery as part of Art on the East Devon Way. 23rd June, stillness, clear sky, three-quarter moon. We all spent time settling in and Field Sensing, sensitising to the sounds, sights and feeling of being here. Located on a grassy track on the border of the territory (thanks to information from Toby at RSPB) and as the sun set and fell into darkness we had close to churring, wing clapping, kericks and fly-by’s from the male nightjar and his partner. Over the three nights we got to know the marker trees around the territory although the pattern of movement changed each time. The churring was intense and long periods of this 1900 notes per minute sound that so far I’ve found that no one can describe or get close to impersonating. The bird seemed especially curious when myself or Tony waived the handkerchiefs. Please get in touch if you would like to pre-order a pair of the screen printed handkerchiefs. There are 30 sets available for £20/pair (+ £5 for P+P) contact me if you would like to place an order. They are hand-printed using an ink drawing of a nightjar made earlier this year screen-printed onto hand-made organic cotton squares . A percentage of the profit will go to a local conservation charity on the pebblebed heaths where around 120 male nightjars make their homes in East Devon. Nightjars are now on the amber list for protected species and have seen a moderate increase in recent years. My love of and fascination with these enigmatic birds continues.