Apologies for the slightly later than planned posting, shortly after the trip I spent the weekend in North Hampshire watching Red Kites and Stone Curlews - But that's for another post!
After a painless drive to Acres Down my group assembled for a quick briefing before we started the walk, I'd outlined the main targets of the day and within very quick time we encountered our first singing Firecrest of the morning, this was joined by a couple of Common Crossbill right above our heads! Several more singing Firecrest were noted before anything else to really add, a Wood Warbler I picked up singing in a little glade was almost impossible to see though most got a couple of glimpses though it sang continually and superbly. One of the New Forests' star birds popped up next, walking past a little clearing we were joined by a Goshawk over the near pine belt, this was a new bird for most of the group and not far off my best view of this species in Britain, sadly my photo doesn't really do it justice!
More Wood Warblers proved elusive as we neared Bolderwood, though a Redstart bucked the trend by sitting out singing for all to watch, this species seemed to be in much lower numbers than in previous years, although if already raising young they may just be a little more secretive.
Tree Pipit, Marsh Tit and several more parties of Crossbill were added in Bolderwood and a Cuckoo finally showed itself and offered great 'scope views to the group. We began to make our way back to Acres Down again, compared to the walk out it was much, much quieter but it had begun to warm up and time was getting on, plenty of birds were to be seen however with Firecrests stealing the show! A Stop for Coffee and some superb home made flapjack before walking to the raptor view point was much required, although it took a little while we did manage to see several raptor species from the top, although distant some good views were obtained. A short list of the highlights is included below.
Goshawk - 2
Wood Warbler - 4+
Cuckoo - 3+
Redstart - 5
Crossbill - 20+
Tree Pipit - 1
Firecrest - 20+
Marsh Tit - 2
Common Buzzard - 7
Sparrowhawk - 1
A very enjoyable walk was had by all and I'd like to thank everyone for coming along.