Although Common Nighthawks can often be easily seen darting and swooping high in the evening sky, they are masters of camouflage when they come to rest. The photo on the left shows how a bird can almost disappear into the gravely soil of the pinyon/juniper habitat in the Coaldale area. Zell had seen this bird fly in and land, which allowed him to find it on the bare ground.
Finding a bird in a tree is at least as challenging—like a “Where’s Waldo” without the red-and-white-striped hat. See if you have find the Common Nighthawk lying prone on a tree branch in the photo below. Honest–there’s one there. (Click on any of these photos to see a larger view. Look on the right side, just above the middle. The bird is facing to the right.)
I had spotted one fly into this pinyon pine, but even with good binos, I just couldn’t find it. I decided to take a photo of the tree to see if I could spot it when I uploaded the photo.
If you’ve spotted it, you win the prize! If not, the 2 photos below highlight the bird. Even with the visual aids, you’ll have to look closely. The easiest field mark to see first is the light streak at the throat, which indicates that this bird is probably a male.
You can hear the typical call of the Common Nighthawk and the “roar” of the male here.