The sun has set already. The location which was so productive only some years ago is very quite. 3 Common Cuckoos (Cuculus canorus) attracted by the high-pitched call of the male chase each other over the heath, which is overgrown more an more. I am disappointed when I leave the site at around 9:30 p.m. In previous years I had the first contact with a Nightjar already around 8:00 p.m. In the car already I decide to stop only a short distance later. After playing the tape oft he song of a nocturnal guest of Brandenburg heath in summer, immediately I hear a discreet purring from a wood right in the landscape in front of me. The rhythmic purr of the Eurasian Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) is increasing in volume in the background – as it was some years ago. And suddenly out of the wood in growing dusk an aggressive flight approach can be noticed. With the wings held high, the bird almost looking like a flying V, the Eurasian Nightjar flies in my direction, only to change direction a few meters in front of me.
The male Nightjar begins to patrol its territory. Slow, excessive wing beats over pine trees (Pinus sylvestris) enhance the impression of a relevant actor in the night. It is beautiful to admire the white spots on the tail edge and the primaries. Only a few moment, this event takes place; then the Nightjar has disappeared again in the adjacent ash grove. A short time later, you can hear the singing of the Nightjar from another location. Again and again Eurasian Nightjar approach in the growing darkness. A second individual appears only to be chased over the heath in front of me.
I stay for half an hour and I am happy, that these encounters are still possible in the former military training areas around Jüterbog in the south of Brandenburg.
For the images I used mainly the Canon EOS-1DX Mark III with the Canon EF 85mm 1.4 L IS USM free hand.
It was the first hardcore outdoor excursion for the Canon EF 85mm f / 1.4L IS USM. This lens has a lot to offer and proved to be very good for available-light-wildlife-photography as well. After long deliberations, to stay with the Canon EF 85mm f / 1.8 L USM and to switch to the 1.4 I did it eventually. The sharpness is terrific even at the apparent end of 1.4 and the autofocus is on the point and is extremely fast. The autofocus is said tob e faster than the Sigma 85mm 1.4 ART and much faster that the Canon EF85mm 1.2 L II USM. I cannot prove this, as I did not posess these lenses. But I was impressed how reliable and perfectly to the point the focus performed on the rapidly flying Nightjar.
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