On the first weekend in March I joined a Naturetrek group for a short trip to the New Forest.
I am very fond of this area as my Grandparents had a thatched cottage and beautiful garden backing on to the forest enclosure in a village called Woodgreen. I have many happy memories from my childhood spent in this area so it was a real joy to go back and be shown some of the special areas for wildlife down there.
We visited areas in the forest itself and also spent a morning down at Keyhaven marshes, situated next to Hurst Castle spit on the Solent, with fine views across to the Needles on the Isle of Wight.
At Keyhaven we saw lots of beautiful ducks in their breeding finery including pintails (lots), teal, gadwall, wigeon and quite a few nice waders. We were hoping for a glimpse of a stray white-tailed eagle ranging across from the island but it was not to be J
The first place we visited in the forest was Acre Wood where we were very excited to see distant but good views of displaying Goshawk. We then went on to several other sites.
But the highlight of the weekend was the next morning when few of us got up early and went back to Acre Wood and much to our delight were treated to a duet by a pair of beautiful lesser spotted woodpeckers (a first for me). We had very good views of both the male and female and came away on a real high – it was difficult to wipe the smiles off our faces when we met the rest of the group for breakfast.
I don’t have a good camera for photographing birds at the moment so didn’t get any good photos but I did take an audio recording of them both drumming which I hope will be of interest: