Hampshire - A family visit to Dorset over the weekend caused us to pause en-route in the New Forest with an afternoon session at Avon Heath near Ringwood. Several Dartford Warblers and Tree Pipits were present in classic heathland habitat along with Stonechats, Common Buzzards and a range of typical woodland birds. Best of all though were good views of Sand Lizards basking in the warm sunshine.
Dorset - We were based at Maiden Newton to the west of Dorchester in a river valley set amid typical rolling Dorset downland near the confluence of the Rivers Hook and Frome. Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher and Little Egret were common along the rivers with hundreds of Swifts, House Martins and Swallows overhead. Also noted over the weekend, Raven, Common Buzzard, Tawny Owl, Bullfinch and Roe Deer.
On Saturday a visit to the botanical gardens at Abbotsbury was first class value for a wide variety of plants and trees along with stunning views along the Jurassic coastline to the west and the Fleets to the east. The gardens were full of breeding birds with young, including Spotted Flycatcher. On the drive back over the hills to Maiden Newton a Short-eared Owl flew over the road by Hardy`s monument.