Sunday 22nd November 2015.
I’m afraid that all my photos I took this morning were from my iPhone. This is Scruff on the footpath leading to Bishop’s Dyke.
I was too busy with my Granddaughter yesterday to do any birding, but I wouldn’t miss one moment with her for the world. The weekend temperatures have plummeted and this morning, it barely reached 5 degrees by midday. The cold weather has obviously signalled for the Wood Pigeons to take a move south. Five figure counts were obtained from a few hardy souls out this morning, but I could think of better things to do than count Wood Pigeons!
These small Toadstools were growing in Bishop’s Dyke.
This morning, I took my first winter walk in the New Forest, but it didn’t kick off well. I haven’t used my Bridge Camera for a while and switching it on this morning within Shatterford Car Park, I noticed that the battery was dead as a Dodo! Nevertheless, I still had my iPhone camera, but photographing any birds was going to be impossible. Luckily, there were some nice scenic shots and also some fungi to grab a few photos of.
The ice formed interesting patterns on the footpath.
Though there are so many good places to walk in the New Forest, I thought I would take a trip to one of my favourite places, Beaulieu Road. I figured that I have now been coming in over 37 years and have never had a crap trip yet. The sheer vastness of the place and apart from the odd plane flying over and the noisy dog or two, all you can hear are the birds. Bliss! Unfortunately, there was a veil of cloud over this part of the Forest but that didn’t put me off as I trudged past icy puddles with Scruff on tow. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew low over the heath heading towards trees by the railway line. The distant call of a Raven echoed over the heath and I managed to pick the bird up flying north from the woodland.
Birch Polypore fungus growing within Bishop’s Dyke.
The walk to Bishops Dyke was fairly uneventful with just a few Goldfinch flying over and a Skylark heading high west. There had been a report of a Great Grey Shrike seen at 3pm yesterday here, but it didn’t show for me today. Entering Bishops Dyke, the Ponies were gathered in a group near the small bridge and among them, a Meadow Pipit was carefully keeping out of the hooves of one particular pony. A Robin joined it also and nearby, the distinctive call of a Reed Bunting could be heard within the Silver Birches. One Reed Bunting flew over a little later. More dog walkers past me as I had to keep an eye on their respective dogs in not getting too friendly with mine. But all was well.
Fungi growing on a fallen tree stump.
The big lake just to the north of the footpath normally holds a few duck or Snipe, but not this morning. However, an unexpected Kingfisher flew low over the water and perched up somewhere nearby. A Marsh Tit called somewhere in the woodland as I negotiated the sodden footpath to Denny Wood. I did find a few interesting Toadstools and fungi but surprisingly, not as many as I was hoping for.
Ponies within Bishop’s Dyke with Denny Wood in the background.
Denny Wood was fairly quiet, save for a few Blue and Great Tits in the trees and Blackbirds scurrying about in the leaf litter. There are some fields on the edge of Denny Wood that looked good for birdlife and so we took a stroll through the woods to view them. A small group of Redwing were on the edge of the woodland within the field along with about a dozen Chaffinches. I was sure I heard a Brambling nearby, but I couldn’t find any among the finches. Also within the same field, I found at least two Mistle Thrushes, two Song Thrushes and at least 10 Meadow Pipits feeding on the short grass.
Exiting Denny Wood, to take the footpath back to Shatterford Car Park, all I saw was just one male Stonechat that was noteworthy. A quick chat with a couple of passing birders looking for the Shrike revealed that they had seen some Dartford Warblers on the opposite side of the road near the car park. Though overcast and cold, it was still a great to get out and stretch my legs with Scruff.