Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Bratley Plain and Kings Garden, New Forest - 24th February

Another couple of hours before a bird survey in Marchwood saw me having a quick walk around the Kings Garden and Bratley Plain area of the New Forest, an area that has quickly become one of my favourites in the forest as long as the A31 is out of earshot. I only had an hour and a half so I walked a quick loop through Kings Garden and back over the ridge of Bratley Plain, furthermore there was a biting north-west wind which hurried my pace. Albeit short, it was good to get out in the field after a weekend of socialising and consuming too much red wine for Sarah's birthday bash!

A Wood Lark was singing in the clearing at Milkham Bottom and eventually after a bit of scanning I found it feeding on the ground with a small flock of Redwing, it was remarkably camouflaged on the ground but it soon flew to an Oak tree where it went into a full song. A little further on a scan over the canopy of Roe Inclosure produced a distant pair of Goshawk displaying. The male performing a slow-flapping display flight when they can appear rather harrier like. 

Woodlark - Feeding and singing on the ground at Milkham Bottom

Woodlark - Milkham Bottom

Goshawk - Distant shot of male showing the slightly spread undertail coverts

Goshawk- Male just before performing its slow-flapping display flight

I pushed on up the hill and as I reached the eastern point of Roe Inclosure where it meets the main path to Bratley Plain was the Great Grey Shrike in almost the same bush as I had seen it on 7th February (see here). While a little more obliging the bird was still flighty and was pretty mobile moving around this area of thorn scrub using various lookout posts and occasionally hovering while searching for food.

Great Grey Shrike - Bratley Plain

Great Grey Shrike - In hovering hunting mode and showing its tail pattern

I walked the ridge back to the car park at Milkham Inclosure seeing a few Meadow Pipit and a singing Dartford Warbler and then  it was time to head off for my bird survey.