Monday 8 July 2024

New Forest

New Forest - Yesterday we returned from our annual five day sojourn to the New Forest Folk Festival where this year the weather was to say the least `indifferent`. Past visits have been scorcheo, but this time it was mostly wet, windy and cool, particularly on Friday when parts of the site were flooded and the river Blackwater was in full spate. However, in between the downpours a couple of guided walks out across Plaitford Common and around the village delivered a few Dartford Warblers, two Redstarts, breeding Spotted Flycatcher, a Hawfinch and House Martins nesting on the farmhouse, while soaring Red Kites and Buzzards were regularly seen over the festival site and hundreds of Swifts streamed through in the cool air on Sunday morning. The variety of music on offer was as usual superb with the Saturday night headliner being our favourites, the punk/folk/rock Oysterband who we`ve followed for over 40 years since they started out as a ceilidh dance band in the late 70`s. Like us they`ve seen too many summers and have decided to call it a day and are on a `Long, Long Goodbye Tour`; which means this year will be their last on the festival circuit, finishing next year touring at indoor venues and folk clubs - so catch `em while you can!

                                  Festival Oak (in the Saturday sunshine!)

This morning before I picked up Ted I joined MC in the Hanson hide where the sitting Avocet mum briefly showed off its chick with dad nearby, and was probably the first one that we could remember here at Dungeness; although whether it makes it to the fledging stage only time will tell. Also noted on the shingle islands were several each of Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers. A sitting Common Tern was joined by others hoping to nest, alongside all the usual eclipse ducks, feral geese and swans, Cormorants, egrets, grebes and Coots. On Burrowes it was good to see plenty more Common Terns attempting to nest on the islands in front of Dennis`s hide and Sand Martin activity around the wall. A Brown Hare was a surprise by Firth lookout, otherwise all the usual suspects were on the lake including at least five Ringed Plovers and a Common Sandpiper. After picking up Ted we headed for a circuit of Pirate Springs where a Kestrel family showed well hunting the grasslands and Skylarks busily fed their fledged young. Being as it was high tide there was little of note on the sea apart from a few distant Sandwich Terns and a party of southbound Swifts. 

                                  Common Tern, Burrowes

                                 Great White Egret, Burrowes

                                 Juvenile Kestrels, Littlestone golf links

                                  Adult Kestrel over the grasslands

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