Monday, 9 March 2015

H is for Hawk

Sat 7th March 2015

A trip the New Forest with Paul F. Friday evenings pre trip plan was given the favourable weather forecast we would head for the New Forest in search of Goshawk. We decided to visit the  Beaulieu Road Station area first hoping to see Dartford Warbler. We parked in the Shatterford car park and headed off on a clockwise route towards the railway bridge. The first noteworthy bird was a calling Curlew in flight. Unfortunately for us the weather was not quite as we had expected with a strong cold wind. Not ideal for Dartford's we thought. We paused just past the railway bridge to scan the gorse and heather, luckily for us we heard a Dartford Warbler calling and then it showed reasonably well for such an elusive bird. We walked on slowly and encountered a minimum of 2 more Dartfords. A few years back when I had not encountered a Dartford Warbler before, I read somewhere that they often tag along with Stonechat and this was the case with the birds we saw today. So onwards towards a more wooded area and I was pleased to catch up with my first Treecreeper of 2015. 4 Mistle Thrush perched in the same small bush were also seen in this area. Next a Peregrine made a brief appearance, probably a male judging by it's size. c10 Redwing were noted at Denny Wood. On the final leg of our walk back to the car park we stopped to chat to a couple off Hants birders. They said that there were Ruff and Spoonbill at Keyhaven/Pennington so given the weather we decided to go there rather than Acre's Down. We were keeping a "day list" as usual and Keyhaven/Pennington always holds a good selection of birds. Parking in Lower Pennington Lane we headed off towards Fishtail Lagoon as we got closer to the lagoon a quick scan and a nice if a bit distant Ruff was found. Then along the sea wall and better views of a couple more Ruff and then distant views of 5 sleeping Spoonbill. We walked along the sea wall to get better views of the Spoonbill and did manage to get a glimpse of the "Spoon Bill" as they had a quick preen. A Rock Pipit in display flight was nice to see here too. On Keyhaven Lagoon were 8 Black-tailed Godwit and another Ruff. The wind had now dropped but although it was still quite cloudy we decided to try for Goshawk at Acre's Down. We walked along the sea wall to the footpath that leads back to the car park from the Jetty. A pair of Red-breasted Merganser were added to our "day list" here. On our walk back to the car park another Ruff on the flooded field  and finally not too far from the car park a Black-tailed Godwit wearing plenty of "bling". More about this Godwit in my next post!
Off to Acre's Down and the weather again not quite what we had hoped for so on route to the raptor watchpoint we decided to have a look for Woodlark. A pair "on territory" didn't take too long to find so we headed over to the watchpoint. At the watchpoint a pair of Kestrel and 6 Buzzard gave us some encouragement given the wind and poor visibility, We didn't have too long to wait before a "Sparrowhawk on steroids" came in to view, Goshawk! It showed reasonably well before dropping like a stone and disappearing low into the trees. We stayed a bit longer but no more Goss, had a chat with some other birders and then headed for home.
A couple of pics below and then our "day list"

1 : Cormorant
2 : Ring-necked Parakeet
3 : Black-headed Gull
4 : Wood Pigeon
5 : Magpie
6 : Carrion Crow
7 : Rook
8 : Buzzard
9 : Mallard
10 : Mute Swan
11 : Starling
12 : Blackbird
13 : Robin
14 : Jackdaw
15 : Great Tit
16 : Greenfinch
17 : Chaffinch
18 : Goldfinch
19 : Mistle Thrush
20 : Curlew
21 : Dartford Warbler
22 : Stonechat
23 : Meadow Pipit
24 : Great-spotted Woodpecker
25 : Pheasant
26 : Skylark
27 : Wren
28 : Treecreeper
29 : Blue Tit
30 : Siskin
31 : Dunnock
32 : Coal Tit
33 : Peregrine
34 : Grey Heron
35 : Lapwing
36 : Jay
37 : Redwing
38 : Song Thrush
39 : Pied Wagtail
40 : Little Egret
41 : Coot
42 : Herring Gull
43 : Brent Goose
44 : Lesser black-backed Gull
45 : Tufted Duck
46 : Oystercatcher
47 : Great black-backed Gull
48 : Shoveler
49 : Wigeon
50 : Teal
51 : Pintail
52 : Kestrel
53 : Shelduck
54 : Golden Plover
55 : Moorhen
56 : Redshank
57 : Ruff
58 : Canada Goose
59 : Little Grebe
60 : Spoonbill
61 : Grey Plover
62 : Turnstone
63 : Dunlin
64 : Rock Pipit
65 : Black-tailed Godwit
66 : Great Crested Grebe
67 : Red-breasted Merganser
68 : Gadwall
69 : Collared Dove
70 : Woodlark
71 : Goshawk
72 : House Sparrow
73 : Greylag Goose
74 : Nuthatch
75: Reed Bunting
76: Long-tailed Tit

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