This afternoon I had a very enjoyable afternoon in the New Forest with Mrs T and the girls. We arrived at Shatterford car park late morning and took an anti-clockwise stroll around the heath. Once we reached the high ground at the eastern edge of Denny Wood we had our first of several sightings of the Great Grey Shrike. The bird was perched at the top of one of the many birch trees surrounding a fairly large patch of water at SU343053. Although distant all four of us got to see the bird through the scope before it flitted off.
Unfortunately the bird didn’t show itself while we ate our pack lunches on one of the wooden bridges along the path that skirts North of Denny Lodge Inclosure. However, a Grey Heron, Little Egret, three Mallard (2 male) and two Lapwing were present on the patch of water. As soon as we continued our walk though the Great Grey Shrike reappeared in another one of the birch trees that follow the stream a couple of hundred metres North of the path. For the next twenty-five minutes we were treated to the bird perching conspicuously between short flights as it flew back and forth along the line of trees. The Shrike was still showing at 1345 when we headed back towards the car.
The second stop was Blackwater Arboretum were I hoped to add Hawfinch to my year list. Although it cost me a round of ice creams from the van in the car park I was in luck. The first two birds appeared at 1527 in the oaks on the northern perimeter of the arboretum. They flew in to the fir trees with at least another four individuals by the time we left at 1620.
Due to the forest looking particularly stunning in the evening light we took the long route back to the M27 and the ‘rat race’ by taking in Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive, Broomy Plain, Fritham and Brook. It was a very pleasant end to the day that included two ‘lifers’ for the girls.
Tony T BSc (Hons) Geosci (Open)