Sunday, 7 April 2013

Something New (6th April)

An afternoons birding trip down to the New Forest with Sharpy, Paul, Ephraim and myself in search of Goshawks.

We arrived at a well known site in the New Forest overlooking a large expanse of mixed woodland and began scanning through the heat haze for any sign of our target species.  Half an hour passed with no sighting, other than a couple of Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk when Sharpy pointed out a raptor species behind the watchpoint circling in the distance.  After considerable scrutiny we were soon satisfied to call it our first GOSHAWK of the day!  It got considerably better after this as we soon picked out a further 1-2 Goshawks performing well over the  top of the canopy.  Another single bird then started flying up and high towards us but the final grand finale of two stunning birds taking the thermals upwards and directly towards us showing closer than all the other previous birds was a great way to end our stay at watchpoint!  In total, we managed clock up to 5 individuals!  We decided to take a short excursion through the nearby woodland before heading back to the car park, on the way logging Marsh TitBullfinch, Siskin, Meadow Pipit and a singing Stonechat to the Hampshire day list.

Goshawk at the New Forest!

Our next stop was Pennington Marsh where we hoped to connect with the long-staying Green-winged Teal.

 looking south across Pennington Marsh towards the Needles on the Isle of Wight

We were running short of time so made our way directly to the pool at which it was last seen.  The short walk there produced our first and only Chiffchaff of the day and a Cetti's Warbler zipped across the path after bursting into a brief flurry of song.  The first pool produced a single Spotted Redshank and Snipe but following a considerable amount of scanning back and forth through the Teal, I eventually set eyes on the drake GREEN-WINGED TEAL.  I called the others over and we all had great views of the bird feeding.  In fact, the only catch was that it was incessantly feeding without raising its head at all so we had to content ourselves with a permanently submerged bill and the top part of its head.

 drake Green-winged Teal, accompanied by Eurasian Teal

Spotted Redshank attempting to swallow a fish

A little further on, we found a second Spotted Redshank.  This one was attempting to swallow a fish and did succeed in the end, although this took at least a minute or two to complete.  The usual commoner waders were also widespread and numerous including Grey Plovers, Black-tailed Godwits, Turnstones, Dunlin, Curlew and Redshanks.

Black-tailed Godwit coming into summer plumage

2 ad. Mediterranean Gulls also flew overhead and back near the car park a birder kindly called me over to show us some new arrival, these turned out to be 3 SPOONBILLS (all adults) and 2 RUFF in the marsh neighbouring the car park.

one of the Ruffs

three adult Spoonbill

Many thanks again to Sharpy for driving and a good days birding!

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