Trip reports

New Forest, Hampshire

Nuthatch on branch
RSPB Image

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

The field trip to the New Forest is best described as a day of challenges, but with some rewards in the birds seen.

The challenges started before we arrived, as some of us were delayed first by an accident on the A31 and then by a road closure just before our start point. (Thanks Hampshire County Council for the lack of warning signs!) Further challenges were caused by the weather, which lived up to the forecast of blustery showers, and the resulting difficulty in finding birds.

Six of us, including welcome visitors Jack and Pauline, eventually gathered at the Bolderwood car park and from here some saw a Hawfinch perched on a distant tree and a couple more flying over but, like all others seen on the day, we only got fleeting views of this target bird. A Goldcrest was spotted feeding nearby, otherwise birds were keeping their heads down as we walked around the Bolderwood area including the deer park. We had a few more sightings of Hawfinches, a couple of Coal Tits and three Jays, then a bit of a purple patch with firstly a Marsh Tit, then another Goldcrest, a Treecreeper, Nuthatch and some had a quick sight of a Firecrest. By now the rain had set in so we made our way back to the cars where three Mistle Thrushes and a Song Thrush were feeding in the open grass area.

Thankfully after lunch the rain eased off in time for our next stop at Mark Ash Wood. A Sparrowhawk flew over and a good selection of tits were feeding in the trees including Coal, Great, Blue and Long-tailed. After much searching, we found another Treecreeper and Marsh Tit. Rob managed to see a Brambling amongst a few mobile Chaffinches, though it disappeared before anybody else got onto it.

Finally we drove over to Blackwater Arboretum. The weather deteriorated once more but not before we added Siskin, Goldfinch, a lovely male Bullfinch and yet another Marsh Tit and Nuthatch to our daily list. Finally we saw two more Treecreepers, though no Hawfinches or Crossbills, before we called it a day.

A total of 23 species were seen between us, with good numbers of Marsh Tits and Treecreepers being the highlight.