Monday, 14 May 2018

Forest - End of the Week & the Weekend.


Had a couple of visits on Forest with an all-dayer at the tail end of last week and a couple of hours again tail end of this weekend, highlights being the first Honey Buzzard of the year for myself on Forest which  came in the form of a white male, 3 Red Kites, some nice Hobby action, Curlews in the usual haunts and Cuckoo's frequently heard from most areas. 


Tuesday, 8 May 2018

May Bank Holiday Weekend - Round Up.


The weekend came and went but the bank holiday weather remains, several areas visited during the weekend provided a few late but new species for the year. Yellow Wagtails were very evident and added to the brightness of the day. Woodlarks sang nearby whilst sky watching provided Gos, Common Buzzard, Spar, Kestrel and Hobby performing above. 

A look for Wood Warblers at a usual site didn't pay off but Firecrests and Redstarts gave song to the area. 

A pair of Montagu's Harrier was a welcome treat and I had forgotten just how good this species is, watching a male and female part displaying was a privilege with the male seeing off an intruding Red Kite. Watching Hobbies hawking during a sunny summers evening was nice and a species that is still up there in my top ten favourite species. 

A dead fallow Deer on an area of open land made us wonder if it been put there on purpose to try and bring in a Kite. Lapwings, Curlews and Stone Curlews all appear to be settled on the breeding grounds.   
















Thursday, 3 May 2018

White Stork - On Forest - 29/04/2018.

White Stork - Ashurst, New Forest - April 2018

Sunday was planned to be one of those lazy days and it was just that until I was awoken by the phone ringing at 09.30, I looked at the caller ID and when I saw it was Mike D I knew I had to take the call. I was met with "have you read my email" I replied "No", I was then met with "White Stork on Forest", there went the rest of the lay in. Kettle on and I made the other half a cuppa and then we got ready. I was out on Forest Thursday when the White Stork was present off Forest at Lower Test but I just couldn't muster up the energy for it, however this was a game changer "On Forest" I had to give it a go.

Arrival on site I was met with "it just flew off to the other field", I had a wander and a look but no sign so called it time to grab some breakfast in the village of Minstead. The other half needed to pop in to Dorset so we did that and then I wanted to recce another area on forest quickly before returning back to the area of Woodlands for another go for the Stork, another wander, another no show, I headed back to the original site where there wasn't any body present bar Neil from Brock, we had a wander and just by luck the White Stork flew over, low but failed to land, oh well at least it was secured, however I wanted to try and get a shot. I decided to check a couple of fields out but again no joy. I decided to give one last field a go whilst driving out and again another no show, however I decided to check the next field and there it was as per the photos above and below. Job done and time enough to get back but a cold and grey day with just the White Stork proving any colour. So there it was, the first Forest twitch in a while and resulting in a Dutch ringed White Stork. 

Big thanks to Mike D for the alert, also to Simon K who helped with updates throughout the day, to Neil who gave the shout for the fly over and Vincent VDS for following up the ring details.

White Stork - Ashurst, New Forest - April 2018

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Wood Warblers - On Forest - 28/04/2018

 Wood Warbler - New Forest - April 2018
Another day on Forest started at a site for Wood Warbler but again no luck and so on to another site and this time luck, as we heard that all distinctive song of a Wood Warbler as we walked along the track. At least two birds present and after closer inspection both were unrigned birds. 

At this and other locations throughout the day we managed to see and or hear Firecrest (pretty much knee deep with this species on forest these days) Gos, Kes, Coal and Marsh Tits, Tree Pipit and Woodlarks, a couple of Cuckoo's, Great and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Crossbill, Siskin, Curlew and Raven were some of the notable species. 


Watching Wood Warblers singing is a highlight of the year for me on Forest and I so enjoy hearing them as I am approaching a site location for this species, watching their whole body tremble as they go in to full song is a sight I never tire of. Great birds and always a pleasure, Redstart was non existent today and it seems to be a slow spring for some species on Forest at the moment.  

Wood Warbler - New Forest - April 2018

Saturday, 28 April 2018

On Forest 26/04/2018


It was one of those days where it started and felt like it had potential but as the weather turned so did that positive feeling. A wander beneath canopy just after first light provided some nice Firecrest action but with no Wood Warblers on this territory yet, Crossbill's were plentiful and hearing my first Cuckoo of the year was nice.

Several hours and sites later a Hobby on one of last years territories was nice to know that at least one of the pair has returned safely. Common Buzzards displayed in between the intervals of showers as well as singing Woodlarks & Redstarts  with Gos present in the usual haunts. The wind was quite strong at times and the rain was driving hard and fast frequently with little else worth mentioning I decided to call time mid afternoon. 

Monday, 23 April 2018

Ten Red Kites & More Migrants - On Forest.

Red Kite - New Forest - April 2018
Friday 20th April

The forecast was just right for one of those "view-point - sky watching" days looking for flyovers, I took it easy and arrived on site at 09.30, target for the day "Red Kite". The sun and warmth was hitting early and a heat haze was present straight away. 

Two Red Kites early on was a great start and throughout the morning a total of ten were logged, this came with a group of seven together thermaling over-head with a singleton later on, all coming from and going on the same direction of south-west. This is the my second highest count on Forest after a count of fourteen mid May 2009. 

As the hours passed a few other bits were logged including, 3 Redstarts, 1 Hobby, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, Gos, Spar, Common Buzzard, Woodlarks, Lapwings, Curlews, Wheatears, Hawfinch's, Dartford Warbler. 

A walk up and through Black Gutter and on to Leaden Hall produced the four Wheatears and an extra Redstart for the day.

5 of the group of 7 Red Kites - New Forest - April 2018

Common Buzzard - 1 of 8 thermalling together in one group was observed today and with the weather gave it that Med raptor migration feeling - New Forest - April 2018


Saturday, 21 April 2018

Curlews & Migrants on Forest.


Had a few visits out on Forest with a few new migrants adding to the year, Swallow, House Martin, Sedge Warbler and Sandwich Tern all coming in from a visit to a coastal spot on Forest. 

A cracking Ring Ouzel was my first spring observation on forest but was pretty skulking and tricky to see let alone get any shots and so I failed miserably to get any shots but one birder managed to dig-scope it with his iPhone!

Curlews are on territory and being seen at a couple of points on forest with some nice display and territory flights observed. Lapwing and Redshank are also getting down to it but I have not seen a Woodcock yet this year.