On Sunday 3rd May I lead a guided tour of parts of the New Forest.
Thankfully the rain began to stop as we approached the New Forest, and as we got off of the coach at Acres Down the weather was improving. A Swift was quickly spotted flying overhead, heralding the sunny weather to come, and a Firecrest sang loudly above our heads and showed fairly well.
Acres Down provided the main highlights of the day, and the walk around this part of the New Forest was truly impressive with special birds around almost every corner. One of the first to be found was a one of a dozen or more Redstarts, a stunning migrant from Africa.
Our woodland bird count quickly rose with Marsh Tit, thrushes, Robins, Wrens and Chaffinches being seen and heard. Highlights included glimpses of a superb Wood Warbler (which did well to keep us guessing where he was going to appear next), a Tree Pipit was seen briefly, and Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap were also heard. A pair of finches were seen disappearing into into a fir tree, and upon waiting patiently, we were rewarded with a male and female Crossbill reappearing and mating right in front of us – unbelievable!
As the clouds cleared and the Sun’s warmth could be felt, we managed to spot a pair of Goshawk drifting over part of the forest, closely followed by a Common Buzzard perching at the top of a tree. Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker were added as we continued our walk, and the sight of a herd of male Fallow Deer added excitement to the morning.
The afternoon was spent at the New Forest Reptile Centre, where we were enthralled by the stunning Siskins gathering around the bird feeder, whilst enjoying views of the captive British reptiles and amphibians.
Our day in the New Forest was filled with many special birds, and I for one was particularly impressed by the amount of singing around the Forest.