Thursday, 7 April 2016

Early Spring birding in the New Forest

Yesterday, 6th April, our group met in the New Forest and as we arrived a Coal Tit was singing, Siskins flying over and then the sound of a Curlew.  We watched fly towards us, over the pine trees  and over our heads, giving his beautiful bubbling display calls, spellbinding!   As we walked down the path we had Meadow Pipit displaying, first of several we saw today and then heard the Curlew again.  This time though the pair came round together displaying and the pipit was forgotten!  Now Curlew is becoming a scarce breeder in the New Forest they are very worthy of our full attention.

A Wheatear was seen distantly on some gorse but then lost to view on the ground, its place taken by a male Stonechat and nearby his mate.  We had at least 3 further males singing on our walk.  A small trickle of hirundines went through, mainly House Martins with the odd Swallow with them and a distant Buzzard.  Approaching the wood we heard above the nearby noisy tractor a Woodlark, it took some finding but Alan was the first to see him, actually he was high above our heads displaying, a beautiful song and a beautiful bird, we left him up there.

Male Common Redstart from the archive
Joe and I heard a Redstart but not a full song, so into the woods a short way and Chris saw him first but it then dropped out of sight.  But not for long he then popped up on a dead tree trunk right in front of us, a very smart male, so good to see them return for the summer.  All the while a Mistle Thrush was singing away.  The usual woodland species were seen including Treecreeper and Nuthatch, also good views of a pair of Marsh Tits. 

A Goldcrest was singing in a holly tree as we walked by back on to the heath and where we heard our first Willow Warbler, we had two on our walk.  In the very wet area in front of us were a pair of Lapwing, Grey Heron and Little Egret.  Starlings adorned a dead tree for a while and a pair of Greenfinch flew down on to the little bridge.  A larger pond had Mallards, a pair of Greylags and a drake Teal.

It had been a rather boggy walk at times meaning a few detours but very rewarding and the rain held off until we arrrived back to the cars.

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