Great walks after work

by A warbler a day

On two occasions this week I’ve managed to get some great birdwatching done after work. On Tuesday I ended the day in New Milton so I headed to Pennington Marshes. The walk from the car park through the scrubby area produced several Whitethroats and a flock of Linnets. On the foreshore there was a flock of Black-tailed Godwits and there were plenty of Oystercatchers flying noisily over the site. In the saltmarsh I managed to glimpse a couple of Whimbrels, a year tick for me. A Meadow Pipit flew from the marsh and parachuted down a few yards from me. Walking back past the reedbeds a Reed Bunting flew in front of me and I heard a Reed Warbler which after a couple of minutes I finally saw singing from a stem. The most extraordinary thing I saw was a Cormorant emerging from a dive in a ditch with the most enormous Eel which after 5 minutes struggle it managed to swallow whole!

On Wednesday we had a team event in Minstead in the New Forest. As it finished early I took advantage of the sunshine to visit Acres Down just outside the village. this is a well known site for viewing raptors. I spent an hour strolling along the ridge which gives great views over the forest and heath. The only raptors I saw were a pair of Buzzards and a distant bird which may have been a Goshawk but I couldn’t be sure. I fared better with the small birds in the heathland with good views of Tree Pipit, Woodlark, Stonechat and Willow Warbler.