Up early and out the door into a very cold morning to meet everyone at Fritham in the New Forest for a slightly late Dawn Chorus by the time everyone had arrived. But there was a lot of bird sound going on with Blackbirds, Robins, Wren, Chaffinch, Wood Pigeon, Blackcap and Blue and Great Tits just from the car park. Just as we moved off towards Eyeworth Pond Jackie brought our attention to a distant Cuckoo. Our walk down to the pond added Goldcrest and Chiffchaff and once at the pond the local Mallards were accompanied by five drake Mandarin. We stood listening and watching by pond for a while and watched the comings and going of various common species coming to bird food which someone had put out and we had good views of Marsh Tit and Nuthatch taking an advantage of this extra food supply.
|Drake Mandarin one of five Eyeworth Pond|
Continuing on we could hear Stock Dove singing from somewhere deep in the wood, then I heard one of our target birds of the day a Common Redstart. He was a little hard to find but Jackie managed to pick him out at the top of an oak and we had reasonable scope views. As we moved out onto the heath we needn't have worried as we came across several pairs and had a chance to see the female birds. As we walked on we had plenty to look at and as we neared the point where we were to turn and head back on our circular route, I scoped across the plain to the north as I saw a raptor soaring high over the wood and had an unexpected surprise it was a male Goshawk. Fortunately everyone got onto it quickly before it went into a shallow stoop and was gone from view behind the wood. We were on a bit of a roll here as just after a 'crest' was picked up in a holly bush and it popped out to revealed itself as a Firecrest.
|Todays group walking back happy after seeing Goshawk|
As we walked back across the heath feeling lucky on seeing the Goshawk we had no idea that we had another surprise in store for us before the walk ended. Out on the heath we added Skylark and Meadow Pipit both treated us to their flight songs. A little further on near some farm building we added Grey Wagtail a super male foraging for food, no doubt expectant hungry young were nearby. Just before we arrived back at the car park something caught my eye soaring above us putting up my bins to get a better view there was no mistaking what it was once you saw the deep forked tail a Red Kite was moving south over us. While admiring this bird we added Swift, House Martin and Sand Martin, what a way to end a walk.