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Saturday, 4 August 2012

Busman's Holiday in the New Forest 27th July to 2nd August 2012


27 – 30 July Dockens Water, New Forest

I was away on holiday for a week down in the New Forest with my wife Jacky – so a “busmans” holiday. It was a very relaxed few days on the edge of the beautiful New Forest & we were able to catch up with a few nice birds & quite a few dragonflies & butterflies, although latter had sadly been quite reduced in numbers by the poor wet summer. We also managed to catch up with our good friends Simon Woolley & Julia Casson, whom provided good tips, food on at least two occasions, bicycles & great close ups of their foxes! Overall we had good weather with mainly dry days, some sunny spells & a few isolated showers.

Our first 3 days were spent at Dockens Water SU195112, we stayed in a lovely log cabin on the edge of the heath – a brilliant spot for moths, birds & very quiet but within walking distance of a good pub! If you like rustic accommodation this is for you -http://www.cottageguide.co.uk/dockenswater/. Nearby pub was short walk & good for a pint & food, the High Corner Inn.

Over the 3 days by sitting around & wandering on to the adjacent area & walking 3-4 miles we recorded over 60 species of birds, notable species were a family of Spotted Flycatcher, plus Grey Wagtail both breeding around the grounds of the accommodation. Crossbill, Hobby, Kingfisher, Nightjar, Siskin, Redstart, lots of Stonechat & Woodlark. We also noted Silver Studded Blue, Keeled Skimmer very close to the accommodation. 


The moth trap was ran 2 evenings & provided around 40 species of macro moth around 250 individuals, including the following notable species – True Lovers Knot 115 on the 29th, Dark Tussock, Svensson’s Copper Underwing, Beautiful Hooktip, Rosy Footman, August Thorn, July Belle, Oak Eggar 6 on 28th, Peppered Moth (insularia form), The Drinker, Daek Tussock, Beautiful Yellow Underwing, Fenn’s Wainscot 
& Garden Tiger.


Buff Tip

Dark Tussock

Nut tree Tussock

Oak Eggar

Garden Tiger

The Drinker

Pebble Prominent

Lesser Swallow Prominent


On the 29th we also spent a nice afternoon wandering around Cadmans Pool, Anses Wood & Sloden Enclosure with Simon & Julia – birds of note were 4+ Redstart, 1 juv Tree Pipit, 4+ Stonechat, Curlew with young. A few insects 6+ Silver-studded Blue, 2+ Beautiful Demoiselle & 4+ Keeled Skimmer.



30th July - 3rd August Furse Hill, South Gorley
On the 30th we relocated to a different self catering accommodation, http://www.cottageguide.co.uk/forestlodge/websiteframeset.html

This is another timber lodge, quite upmarket inside, well fitted out with plasma TV & high definition Sky (nice as we atched quite a bit of the Olympics!), good kitchen, bedroom & shower room. It’s much more semi-natural habitat & not immediately adjacent to heathland like Dockens water.


Once we had unloaded into the lodge, we then headed over to Martin Down, numbers were low for this location - one of the UK’s best butterfly sites. But we still had a lovely afternoon, chasing insects with the cameras! Marbled White c20, Dark Green Frittilary c12, Chalkhill Blue 2, Brimstone 4, plus commoner species. Birds of note were 2 Turtle Dove, 2 Raven, 1 male Redstart & 4 Yellowhammer. We did head over to Latchmore brook a location I have visited before to see Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly but possibly due to the weather conditions & being a little late in the season we failed to find any, in fact this site was fairly quiet with no Beautiful Demoiselle noted either.


Chalkhill Blue

Marbled White
Comma
Brimstone
Our highlights were Black Arches, Feathered Beauty (4), Scalloped Hook-tip & Brussels Lace.

We headed out on a cycle ride in the afternoon across the New Forest, we didn’t see anything too different, but did note 5 Woodlark as we crossed Beaulieu Heath.

On the 1st August we headed down to the beautiful Dorset coastline. We walked out through Durlston CP to Worth Matravers, along the spectacular coastal path. The spread of wildflowers up the cliffside fields is lovely & it would be easy to imagine 100’s of butterflies flitting across these fields. However, most of the day was cloudy & we limited to small no’s as & when the sun popped out! Good no’s of Marbled White, plus a scattering of commoner species. Peregrine were much in evidence with at least 3 pairs & several juveniles, a pair of Raven a relative newcomer to this area, plenty of Buzzard, numerous Stonechat, a few Yellowhammer plus an early migrant Wheatear flitted along the hedgeline.
In the evening we enjoyed fine food at our friends house Simon & Julia Woolley - plus had a wonderful time watching a family of Foxes - see the video below.



On our final day - Thursday 2nd August, we headed over to Crockford bridge with cameras to hand, the weather suitable for insects & photography! After a bit of searching we find a sheltered spot near the bridge just behind a belt of trees, around a dozen Beautiful Demoiselle were active, plus a Golden Ringed Dragonfly – the two species I had hoped we might photograph. Several other commoner species were active, including a nice smart male Broad-bodied Chaser, the wet heathland nearby held Keeled Skimmer & 2-3 Silver-studded Blue. Also 3-4 Dartford Warbler were noted, plus Woodlark.

Beautiful Demoiselle

Golden ringed Dragonfly
Obviously there are lots of sites in the New Forest & Dorset but if you want a nice mix of insects & birds in July/August then by visiting Martin Down, Durlston CP, Crockford Bridge, Beaulieu heath you are guaranteed to see a really wide cross section.

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