The renowned ornithologist Ian Sinclair just wrote to let me know that a party comprising himself, Vernon Head, Gerry Nicholls (USA) and Dennis Weir have become the first people to identify a live Nechisar nightjar:
Ian writes: “We gathered in Addis Ababa on 18 April and drove two days to Arba Minch and the nearby Nechesar Plainm where 20 years earlier a team of researchers found a nightjar roadkill on the Nechisar Plain and kept the wing. Later at the British Museum they discovered this wing didn’t fit any known African nightjar and they described it as new to science. I examined the wing when researching the African Field guide and drooled over the fabulous wing and dreamed of seeing the bird.
“A tortuous 3 hour drive (only 20km) to the site of the road kill (just a rutted track) and a long anxiety filled wait till dusk. Found the usual local nightjars quickly… Donaldson-Smith’s and Sombre… both fairly small species and then eye shine on a very large nightjar in the spotlamp. When flushed the huge skua-like wing patches were striking and brilliantly white, quite unlike any other nightjar in Africa. This was obviously the male, as the collected wing has a buffy carpal patch and could be a young male or female.”
Congratulations Ian – very exiting news!!!