Nature Frames “Short” (Common Nighthawk — Hughes Mountain Natural Area)

June 8, 2018

A common nighthawk on her nest atop Hughes Mountain in Washington County.

Last Saturday, my buddy Bill Fritz and I were hiking around on Hughes Mountain when he walked right by a well-camouflaged common nighthawk and flushed her off her nest. I was able to grab a few shots with a long lens as she sat on a rock and scolded us for our encroachment. She went right back to her nest a few minutes later where a little chick and one egg were waiting. The featured image is of the mama nighthawk back on her nest. As you can see, it’s not really a nest but just a flat place between some chunks of granite for concealment. Nighthawks don’t actually build a nest.

A common nighthawk voices her annoyance at a couple of clumsy hikers on Hughes Mountain.

A close-up of mama nighthawk taken from a respectful distance with a long lens.

We skedaddled as quickly as possible and wished mama well as we left her sitting on one egg and a tiny chick. About a week later, this morning, Joyce and I went back to the mountain to see how the family was doing. The plan was to view the site from afar with binoculars. Upon arrival, I glassed the area and the family was nowhere to be found. Later I found pieces of a hatched egg from the second chick. Nighthawks are similar to killdeer when it comes to nesting. Once the young are hatched, they move around on their own with mama keeping an eye on them and feeding them as they explore their new world. I’m confident that this little nighthawk family is doing fine, somewhere on Hughes Mountain.

Joyce and I atop Hughes Mountain at sunrise this morning.

Before Joyce and I started back down the mountain, we had to get a sunrise image from the summit. She said she was dressed like a park ranger and I was dressed like a UPS delivery man. Ha! Fun times!

Thanks for looking,


Note:  Thanks so much to Mike Arduser, Mark Haas, Bill Rowe, and others for assisting when needed with tricky bird identifications that arise during my adventures. It’s great to have such a learned vetting team.

Email me at:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

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America is beautiful. I vote to keep it that way.


8 comments on “Nature Frames “Short” (Common Nighthawk — Hughes Mountain Natural Area)”

  1. Never seen a Nighthawk on the ground, so thanks. How did you take the last image? Timer and tripod?

  2. What great pictures of a momma nighthawk. She was giving you the eye in that one! Lol

  3. Wow! Camo in action! It was difficult to make out the Nighthawk in the featured picture.

  4. Very cool. Thanks for sharing this!

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