Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Boggy Birding Heaven in the New Forest & Wareham Forest

Yesterday morning, 3rd June, our Tuesday group met in the New Forest with heathland, woodland and a lovely boggy area in the middle.  In the car park we could hear Cuckoo, Goldcrest and Chiffchaff together with the more common woodland species and a Grey Heron flew over.   Walking through to the heath we had a pair of Blackcap and a Firecrest started singing but it was unsighted.

Out in the open we had displaying Meadow Pipits and the first Stonechats, as we went round we had several family parties.  Coming down to the boggy area I noticed some Heath Spotted Orchids then a little further in the splendid sight of Marsh Orchids and Bog Bean in flower.

It was very wet but I managed to get some photographs, while I was bent down I heard one of my favourite sounds - a drumming Snipe.  I hurried to get to my feet and the bird was easy to see above the bog displaying, while another bird the other side of the willows was giving it's "yapping" call.  This was amazing at 11a.m. and just wonderful, my day was made already!
Bog Bean © Jackie Hull
Marsh Orchid © Jackie Hull
Back to earth we had a female Reed Bunting land on the path pecking around, I could hear a male and did fly by.  Next we were watching three Lapwings calling and swooping down on a young Grey Heron, obviously very unhappy with his presence in their territory, eventually the heron did fly off.  Then I was asked to look at a bird that the group had seen flying into a tree, through the scope I could see it was a Cuckoo.

Going back into a more wooded area we heard Willow Warbler and found one sat up on top of Silver Birch, then found a family of them.  We had a glimpse of a female Redstart but seemed very shy.  We needn't have worried when we got back towards the car park we had a very showy pair collecting food and going back to a nest, they were very busy indeed.  

This morning our Wednesday group were in a very similar area but in Dorset this time at Morden Bog in the Wareham Forest.  On Saturday/Sunday this area was made famous as a Short-toed Eagle chose to roost here and showed well for a lucky few hundred birders.  However today was very quiet, as the weather forecast had been rather dire we really only saw a couple of dog walkers the whole morning. For us the rain held off and had times we had bits of blue sky and sunshine.  

We started with a pair of Linnets and Bullfinches and the usual woodland birds expected, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps singing and Swifts overhead.  Looking over Boat House Lake we had a few ducks with a pair of Gadwall plus Mallard with young and Tufted Ducks.  Always good for Little Grebes but we were looking for the Grey Wagtails that favour this area and it wasn't long before they showed and a Kingfisher then whizzed past so quickly not everyone got to see it.  Fran had a brief but good view of a Hobby but it didn't reappear.

Back out on to the heath and round to the Decoy Cottage we had Stonechats and up high in the pines noisy Siskins.  Anthea picked out a Treecreeper, one of a few that we saw while I could hear the song of a Tree Pipit, as I looked for it up it went into a display flight.   A female Crossbill was found close by on top of a low shrub but not for long as she flew up into the tall pines.
Morden Bog © Jackie Hull
Now we were  looking over the bog  then we spied our first Hobby we could all see, it scythed through the air, then another one, superb birds.  Chris was scoping the trees when he found a Hobby perched and as we admired this bird Fran found one sat much closer - excellent!  With the sunshine a few Four-spot Chaser dragonflies were on the wing so good feeding for the Hobbies.

Back at the cottage we watched a Spotted Flycatcher and we found another as we walked back along the woodland path taking food into a ivy covered tree.  A young toad was found wandering across the track and after having its photo taken he was placed out of harm just off the path.  I was also pleased to see a Froghopper on a leaf by my car.

Froghopper © Jackie Hull
Young Toad © Jackie Hull










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