Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Walk in the New Forest

It was our last Tuesday fortnightly group meeting for the summer term and we had a circular walk at  Bishop's Dyke in the New Forest, one of my favourite summer walks.  It seemed fairly quiet though we had the usual Robin, Blackbird and Song Thrush.  The Dog Roses added a touch of colour to the  darkness at the edge of the wood, as we came out to the heath we found another splash of colour with Heath Spotted Orchids and the heather was starting to flower.

Meadow Pipits were displaying and a Grey Heron flew over and a small party of Linnets seemed to bounce over the bracken and out of view.  The Stonechats as always were very obliging and it was good to see a juvenile, in fact I think they have had a good breeding season, we seemed to have Stonechats all along our walk.   Approaching the boggy stream we heard Willow Warbler and a couple Reed Buntings singing.  A Dartford Warbler flew up and gave it's characteristic scratchy call and disappeared almost immediately, it reappeared twice before everyone managed to see it.  In the wet grassland three Little Egrets were feeding with a Lapwing looking on and a single Pied Wagtail.    Then a Kestrel flew over and immediately two Lapwing were up and flying to drive off the Kestrel from their territory.

Now on our return to the cars we came upon a family party of Swallows, the young birds would settle on a branch and wait for the adults to feed them, before flying around again, a true delight to watch.  We had our only butterfly, a Meadow Brown and then only a count of three, very disappointing.  On a more cheerful note we had our first Redstarts, the males certainly brighten up any day.  A Treecreeper made its way mouse like up an oak, and a Blackcap gave us a burst of song and a Green Woodpecker put in a brief appearance.  Siskins were calling from the top of the Silver Birch trees and we did manage some views of two of them.  A Tree Pipit flew up singing in a display flight and obligingly landed where we were able to get good 'scope views.

An excellent walk to finish for our summer break and look forward to starting our Autumn term in September.

Heath Spotted Orchid © Jackie Hull

Coming into the wood at Bishop's Dyke © Jackie Hull

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