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Thread: Common Nighthawk

  1. #1

    Default Common Nighthawk

    Was out photographing scissor-tailed flycatchers today, and a few woodpeckers that happened by. But, as usual, unexpected opportunities seem to happen. I saw this nighthawk on a branch early this morning. Later in the day, a male nighthawk was flying nearby. He was doing an impressive courtship flight. That involves flying at high altitude, and then diving all the way to the ground almost. Just at the very bottom of the dive you would hear an impressive booming sound. It was like a stuka dive bomber. I assume the female was as impressed as I was.

    Here is the female:




    And here is the male buzzing around me :











    https://www.flickr.com/photos/30888088@N02/
    Last edited by Chris M; 08-06-2017 at 10:52 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Common Nighthawk

    Beautiful birds. I've not seen them yet. Thank you for sharing these shots. You get really good bif shots
    Kaptured by Kala

    http://kapturedbykala.com

  3. #3

    Default Re: Common Nighthawk

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptured by Kala View Post
    Beautiful birds. I've not seen them yet. Thank you for sharing these shots. You get really good bif shots
    Thank you Kala! I'll bet you have seen these birds and not realized it. They fly very high in the sky late in the evening. They emit a nasal peeent sound (as is the last photo I posted). I also bet you have walked past a roosting bird on a low tree branch and not realized it. You have to have the search image in mind to find them because the bird blends with the tree branch. The first photo I posted is not typical because this bird is much more exposed in the open than normal. And also their eyes are never open (like my photo) because that blows their camouflage.

    I wanted to try to make more flight shots this year.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Common Nighthawk

    You may be right. I have always assumed it was only chimney swifts way up there in the sky at dusk, their chittering is all I hear.
    Kaptured by Kala

    http://kapturedbykala.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Common Nighthawk

    Wow -- that courtship flight must have been quite impressive! Thanks for giving us the description of it, Chris!

    I used to see Common Nighthawks flying around lighted areas of grocery store parking lots when I went shopping late, on the way home from work. Now that I'm retired I shop during the day, so I haven't had that experience in some years. Interesting the way they perch parallel to the branch instead of across it -- I've seen that, too -- I'm sure that aids in the camouflage effect.
    Betsy
    "My heart in hiding Stirred for a bird,
    -- the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!"
    (from "The Windhover" by Gerard Manley Hopkins)

    "My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather."
    Loire Hartwould

    "You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird . . . So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing - that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."
    Richard P. Feynman

  6. #6

    Default Re: Common Nighthawk

    Never seen them. But the shot is really great. I was hoping to listen to male buzz!

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