Monday, 5 July 2010

New Forest and no Quail

After a couple of weekends out of action with a stomach bug it was nice to get out again over the weekend.
Unfortunately, thanks to the illness, I've missed a fair bit in the latter half of June, and a lot of good insects and orchids have finished. Hopefully will be able to catch up on the birds over the next month or so.

We decided to hit the New Forest on Saturday, as reports on Bird Forum suggested that some of the special orchids were out. Also of course the more localised butterflies and dragonflies should be abundant.
We arrived at Long Beech enclosure just before nine. It was sunny, with a nice cool breeze. A couple of guys were getting back in their car and gave us directions to the Bog Orchids. Did not take long to find the spot, which was looking nice with the yellow Asphodel and Sundews. After more than an hour of searching I finally managed to spot a tiny spike-even though there were supposed to be lots about.

Difficult to get images of it due to it's tiny size, and the very unstable ground.

After this we headed down to Dibden Enclosure. It is supposed to have Heath Fragrant Orchids. Well we searched quite a bit of the (northern) side without success. The stream was very good, with large numbers of the more regular dragonflies-Broad Bodied and FourSpot Chasers, Keeled Skimmers, Azure, Common Large Red and Small Red Damselflies and a few Beautiful Demoiselles. The heath held huge numbers of Silver Studded Blues.

Also fairly abundant were the Large Skippers.

With no sign of the fragrant (let alone the Heath Spotted which is supposed to be abundant all over the forest) we moved off to Hatchet Pond. Several Dark Green Fritillaries were nice, and yet again, Silver Studded were abundant. Unfortunately the wind had picked up and the smaller damselflies were hard to locate. I though that I had found a Scarce Bluetail, but close inspection of the image when I had got home proved it was just a Common Bluetail. For once we went quite a way upstream searching for the Scarce Bluetail but we never found anything apart from the ubiquitous Keeled Skimmers.

Knowing that Crockford Bridge would be more sheltered we made it our last New Forest destination. Southern Damselflies were by far the most common, though everything so far mentioned was found here. As usual, the Golden Ringed were the most photogenic.
A search of the more open area for Grayling was fruitless, though we did get to see a few more Dark Green Fritillaries and Silver Studded Blues.

More Sundews were found again-including some in spots I would have thought were too dry, but they seemed happy.

Heading home we called in at Noar Hill. Most of the orchids we saw last visit were going over, though the Pyramidals were perfect. The Musk Orchids proved to be a bit more difficult to locate until I sat down for a while and took a close look at the turf. Once you get your eye in they are pretty easy to see.
Plenty of Butterflies-Common Blue, Large Skipper, Ringlet and Marbled White.

 Sunday morning was nice and sunny, but very breezy. I went up to the Wallington/Dead Mans Hill area to search for Quail as there are several this year. I was not successful, though some were heard in the evening. What was nice was the large number of Corn Buntings in the Wallington area. There were a few raptors present-Buzzard and Kestrel, though Red Kites are present. Would have expected Hobby as well. Will have to try again when conditions are more suitable.

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