New Forest 2005

Monday 4 - Thursday 7 July 2005


Bob Ford

A great week with some very pleasant weather producing exceptionally close views of some difficult species including Silver-washed Fritillary, Wood Cricket and Redshank.

Monday July 4th

Weather: Dry and clear in the evening, wind light northerly

Our introduction to the New Forest was a dusk trip to Yew Tree Bottom to see Nightjars. We had to wait until it was nearly dark before one appeared but then we had a very close view as it hunted for moths. Looking at Jupiter through the telescope revealed 2 of its moons.

Tuesday July 5th

Weather: Heavy showers in the morning, light rain all afternoon.

After an excellent breakfast at the Forest Park Hotel we set out for Acres Down near the village of Emery Down. As we walked away from the bus the heavens opened forcing us to shelter under some trees. The rain soon slackened off though and we found a Willow Warbler giving good views in the birches as we climbed the hill. At the top we enjoyed the view of the forest under a layer of grey rain clouds. Walking out of the woods and onto the heathland gave us the opportunity to catch up on the typical heathland flora including Bog Asphodels, Dodder and all 3 Heathers. A Buzzard called but remained hidden; Meadow Pipits and Stonechats were more co-operative sitting on the tops of bushes. A family of Dartford Warblers teased us with fleeting views through the gorse and a group of 3 Wood Larks allowed us a quick look before they flew off. The pond produced the only addition to the Travelling Naturalist New Forest bird list in the shape of a pair of young Mandarin Ducks (thought at the time to be Wood Ducks).

Cross-leaved Heath

On the way back to the hotel we stopped off at Rhinefield Arboretum to see largest tree in the world - the Giant Redwood. We also saw some huge Douglas Firs and much smaller but just as beautiful plants including Hard Ferns, Slender St John’s Wort and Common Cow-wheat.

The afternoon trip was to the coast at Pennington, always a great bird-watching location. Even in the unremitting drizzle it lived up to its reputation with outstanding views of a series of normally shy birds including Redshank and Reed Warbler. A group of Bee Orchids were the first ever seen on this trip.

After a lengthy and much-appreciated dinner we wandered out just outside the hotel to look for owls. Eventually a Tawny Owl was found perched on a post in the allotments, but it was really too dark for a good look at it.

Wednesday July 6th

Weather: Warm, with long sunny spells and a strengthening westerly wind.

The walk from the Shatterford car park down to Bishop’s Dyke took even longer than normal with so much to see. First to stop us in our tracks were the Silver-studded Blues which were in abundance close to the car park. Next was a Curlew which flew in and allowed us to watch it as it walked around the heath. Then family after family of Stonechats appeared along the path – obviously a very good breeding season for them this year.

A tiny Toad was an interesting find and a very obliging model.

Reaching the trees of Denny Wood we heard a flock of loudly-calling birds overhead - the “chip – chip – chip” of Crossbills. Several times the flock flew over but we never did see them at rest. A Wood Lark was found perched uncharacteristically high on a dead tree. Dragonflies were well represented with a fine Golden-ringed giving us very good views in the woodland and later a male Keeled Skimmer even sat still long enough to photograph as did a female Large Red Damselfly.

Keeled Skimmer

Large Red Damselfly

After dinner we had the unique opportunity to go for an evening deer walk with 2 of the Forestry Commission’s Forest Rangers. A Roe Deer was located in the trees as we drove down the track. Out in the forest several Red Deer were soon found with their young in attendance. As we reached the hide overlooking Queens Meadow the herd of female Fallow Deer with their young were found looking very nervous. The reason was soon evident as a young buck appeared with a length of wiring wrapped around its antlers. The walk back to the bus was enlivened by calls of Nightjar, Tawny Owl and a raptor that was probably a Hobby. A Woodcock flew over on its roding flight around the forest.

Thursday July 7th

Weather: Warm sunny spells in a light wind.

Each year we try to explore a new area and this year we visited Pignall Enclosure just to the east of Brockenhurst. As hoped the absence of ponies allowed the flowers to grow that are required by butterflies to breed on. Silver-washed Fritillaries were numerous and a single Purple Hairstreak was a new addition to the list. Another remarkable sighting was a fat (probably pregnant) Wood Mouse which slowly walked across the path while we were watching a Spotted Flycatcher and some Bullfinches. We often hear Wood Crickets on these walks but today we were treated to a number of them walking around our feet and posing for photographs.

Silver-washed Fritillary

Wood Cricket

For our lunch stop we walked into Bolderwood amongst some very majestic Beeches. A fine Golden-ringed Dragonfly was found perched on a Bramble bush, allowing for close views through the telescope. Both Nuthatch and Treecreeper were seen here and a Stock Dove provided a constant “hoo-hoo” in the background. Returning to the bus, a Song Thrush alerted us to a large owl, either a Tawny or possibly the much rarer Long-eared, which flew up from the ground where it had probably been hoping to catch a fledgling thrush.

Next we stopped to see the herd of Fallow Deer bucks at the Bolderwood viewpoint. Today they were joined by a small flock of Stock Doves and a Hobby which gave a brief but impressive display of aerobatics high above them.

Our final excursion was to Wilverley Plain to look for Buzzards. Before we finally found one, we enjoyed finding a variety of new plants including the tiny Fairy Flax and the equally charming Mouse-ear Hawkweed.

Hope to see you all again soon, either back in the New Forest or in Dorset.

Bob Ford

***STOP PRESS!!!***

Dorset Break at the Moonfleet Hotel near Weymouth planned for May 8th – 11th 2006

click here for details


* indicates the first record for this species

Little Egret Pennington/Keyhaven
Grey Heron Pennington/Keyhaven
Mute Swan Pennington/Keyhaven
Canada Goose Pennington/Keyhaven
Shelduck Pennington/Keyhaven
Mallard Pennington/Keyhaven
*Mandarin Duck Acres Down
Sparrowhawk Acres Down
Kestrel Brockenhurst
Hobby Bolderwood
Buzzard Acres Down
Pheasant Poundhill Inclosure
Moorhen Pennington/Keyhaven
Oystercatcher Pennington/Keyhaven
Lapwing Pennington/Keyhaven
Little Ringed Plover Pennington/Keyhaven
Black-tailed Godwit Pennington/Keyhaven
Woodcock Poundhill Inclosure
Curlew Pennington/Keyhaven
Redshank Pennington/Keyhaven
Black-headed Gull Pennington/Keyhaven
Lesser Black-backed Gull Pennington/Keyhaven
Herring Gull Pennington/Keyhaven
Great Black-backed Gull Pennington/Keyhaven
Little Tern Pennington/Keyhaven
Common Tern Pennington/Keyhaven
Wood Pigeon Acres Down
Stock Dove Bolderwood
Collared Dove Brockenhurst
Green Woodpecker Denny Wood
Great Spotted Woodpecker Brockenhurst
Tawny Owl Brockenhurst
Nightjar Yew Tree Bottom
Skylark Denny Wood
Wood Lark Acres Down
Swift Denny Wood
Sand Martin Denny Wood
House Martin Denny Wood
Meadow Pipit Acres Down
Pied Wagtail Forest Park Hotel
Wren Rhinefield
Spotted Flycatcher Pignall Inclosure
Robin Brockenhurst
Redstart Denny Wood
Stonechat Acres Down
Blackbird Brockenhurst
Song Thrush Acres Down
Mistle Thrush Acres Down
Reed Warbler Pennington/Keyhaven
Dartford Warbler Acres Down
Whitethroat Pennington/Keyhaven
Blackcap (heard) Brockenhurst
Chiffchaff (heard) Acres Down
Willow Warbler Acres Down
Goldcrest Acres Down
Coal Tit Acres Down
Blue Tit Acres Down
Great Tit Acres Down
Marsh Tit Pignall Inclosure
Long-tailed Tit Acres Down
Nuthatch Bolderwood
Treecreeper Acres Down
Jay Forest Park Hotel
Magpie Acres Down
Jackdaw Acres Down
Rook Brockenhurst
Carrion Crow Acres Down
Starling Acres Down
House Sparrow Hatchet Pond
Chaffinch Acres Down
Greenfinch Acres Down
Goldfinch Acres Down
Linnet Pennington/Keyhaven
Crossbill Denny Wood
Bullfinch Denny Wood
Reed Bunting Pennington/Keyhaven

Silver-washed Fritillary Denny Wood
Meadow Brown Acres Down
Gatekeeper Bolderwood
Ringlet Denny Wood
Brimstone Denny Wood
Small White Acres Down
Silver-studded Blue Acres Down
Purple Hairstreak Pignall Inclosure
Small Skipper Pennington/Keyhaven
Large Skipper Denny Wood

Large Red Damselfly Denny Wood
Common Blue Damselfly Denny Wood
Beautiful Demoiselle Pignall Inclosure
Common Darter Denny Wood
Emperor Acres Down
Golden-ringed Dragonfly Bolderwood
Keeled Skimmer Denny Wood

Other Insects:
Wood Cricket Pignall Inclosure
Pond Skater Denny Wood
Whirligig Beetle Denny Wood
Soldier Beetle Pennington/Keyhaven
*Leptura 6-guttata (a longhorn beetle) Denny Wood
Devil's Coach-horse Bolderwood
Sand Wasp Denny Wood
Hornet Denny Wood
Solitary Bee Pennington/Keyhaven
Wood Ant Denny Wood

Fox Pennington/Keyhaven
Rabbit Pennington/Keyhaven
Grey Squirrel Forest Park Hotel
Fallow Deer Poundhill Inclosure
Roe Deer Poundhill Inclosure
Red Deer Poundhill Inclosure
*Wood Mouse Pignall Inclosure
Pipistrelle Poundhill Inclosure

Toad Denny Wood

Hard Fern Rhinefield
Bracken Acres Down
Douglas Fir Rhinefield
Giant Redwood Rhinefield
*Corsican Pine Poundhill Inclosure
*Lodgepole Pine Poundhill Inclosure
Scots Pine Widespread
*Atlas Cedar Bolderwood
*Cedar of Lebanon Keyhaven
*Larch Denny Wood
Ash Brockenhurst
Sycamore Brockenhurst
*Alder Poundhill Inclosure
Birch Widespread
Beech Widespread
Sweet Chestnut Bolderwood
Pedunculate Oak Widespread
*Turkey Oak Poundhill Inclosure
Alder Buckthorn Acres Down
Bog Myrtle Denny Wood
Creeping Buttercup Brockenhurst
*Hairy Buttercup Pennington
Lesser Spearwort Widespread
Round-leaved Sundew Acres Down
*Hairy Bittercress Brockenhurst
Milkwort Brockenhurst
Sea Campion Keyhaven
Sea Spurrey Keyhaven
*Lesser Stitchwort Denny Wood
Chickweed Keyhaven
Sea Beet Keyhaven
*Mossy Stonecrop Denny Wood
Glasswort Keyhaven
Common Orache Keyhaven
Hastate Orache Keyhaven
Sea Purslane Keyhaven
Annual Seablite Keyhaven
Marsh St John's Wort Acres Down
Slender St John's Wort Rhinefield
Rose of Sharon Rhinefield
Musk Mallow Brockenhurst
Mallow Pennington
Purging (Fairy) Flax Wilverley Plain
Cut-leaved Cranesbill Acres Down
Holly Widespread
*Petty Whin Denny Wood
Gorse Widespread
Common Birdsfoot Denny Wood
White Clover Widespread
Red Clover Brockenhurst
Lesser Trefoil Keyhaven
Hop Trefoil Pennington
Black Medick Pennington
Haresfoot Clover Keyhaven
Greater Birdsfoot Trefoil Brockenhurst
Birdsfoot Trefoil Pennington
Common Vetch Pennington
Tufted Vetch Keyhaven
Bramble Widespread
Creeping Cinquefoil Pennington
Tormentil Widespread
Wood Sorrel Denny Wood
Dog Rose Widespread
Hawthorn Widespread
Ivy Brockenhurst
Marsh Pennywort Denny Wood
Hogweed Pennington
Carrot Keyhaven
Wood Spurge Brockenhurst
Japanese Knotweed Brockenhurst
Sheep's Sorrel Widespread
Water Pepper Acres Down
Fiddle Dock Pennington
Broad-leaved Dock Brockenhurst
Curled Dock Keyhaven
Nettle Widespread
Creeping Willow Brockenhurst
Sallow Acres Down
Thrift Keyhaven
Sea Lavender Keyhaven
*Broad-leaved Willowherb Widespread
Yellow Pimpernel Denny Wood
Bog Pimpernel Denny Wood
Scarlet Pimpernel Keyhaven
Enchanter's Nightshade Brockenhurst
Centaury Widespread
Water Forget-me-not Brockenhurst
*Field Forget-me-not Pennington
Vervain Pennington
Hedge Bindweed Pennington
*Field Bindweed Pennington
Foxglove Widespread
Common Figwort Yew Tree Bottom
*Water Figwort Acres Down
Water Speedwell Brockenhurst
Eyebright WPennington
Lousewort Widespread
Common Cow-wheat Rhinefield
Cross-leaved Heath Widespread
Ling Widespread
Bell Heather Widespread
Bilberry Acres Down
Lesser Skullcap Denny Wood
Self-heal Widespread
Hedge Woundwort Brockenhurst
Wood Sage Acres Down
Greater Plantain Keyhaven
Ribwort Plantain Keyhaven
Buckshorn Plantain Keyhaven
Heath Bedstraw Widespread
Marsh Bedstraw Widespread
*Woody Nightshade Pennington
Elder Keyhaven
Honeysuckle Widespread
Dodder Acres Down
*Field Poppy Pennington
*Long-headed Poppy Pennington
Teasel Pennington
*Common Valerian Poundhill Inclosure
Devilsbit Scabious Brockenhurst
Marsh Ragwort Brockenhurst
Ragwort Brockenhurst
Groundsel Brockenhurst
*Heath Groundsel Brockenhurst
Sticky Groundsel Keyhaven
Daisy Brockenhurst
Yarrow Pennington
Sneezewort Denny Wood
Lawn Chamomile Brockenhurst
Sea Mayweed Keyhaven
*Scentless Mayweed Widespread
Marsh Cudweed Acres Down
Small Cudweed Denny Wood
Oxeye Daisy Keyhaven
Spear Thistle Pennington
Marsh Thistle Widespread
Creeping Thistle Pennington
Bristly Ox-tongue Keyhaven
*Hawkweed Ox-tongue Keyhaven
Perennial Sow-thistle Keyhaven
Prickly Sow-thistle Keyhaven
*Smooth Sow-thistle Keyhaven
Mouse-ear Hawkweed Wilverley Plain
Common Cats-ear Widespread
Dandelion Brockenhurst
Bog Asphodel Acres Down
Butcher's Broom Denny Wood
Heath Spotted Orchid Poundhill Inclosure
*Bee Orchid Pennington
Bur-reed Denny Wood
Common Pondweed Denny Wood
*Field Horsetail Pennington
Reed Pennington
Wall Barley Keyhaven
Cotton Grass Acres Down
White Beak-sedge Acres Down

© The Travelling Naturalist 2005