Redstart – Denny Wood Campsite, New Forest

Wood Warbler – Lucy Hill, New Forest – 18th May 2020

I noticed on Going Birding that a Wood Warbler had been reported in early May at Lucy Hill, the place where I had seen my Wood Warbler in 2019. I decided to head out there early to see if it was still present. It hadn’t been reported for two weeks but I wondered if this was because of either the Coronavirus lockdown or because records of rare breeding birds are often surpressed by Going Birding.

I spent 30 minutes on location without hearing a Wood Warbler singing or calling. I also tried the nearby Verely Car Park where I have heard Wood Warbler in the past but again no luck. This is becoming a very difficult species to see.

Redstart – Denny Wood Campsite, New Forest – 18th May 2020

My second target of the day was Spotted Flycatcher. They are one of the latest migrants to arrive although there are usually some in the UK by mid-May. I saw my first Spotted Flycatcher of 2019 on the 19th May. I headed to Denny Wood as I had seen four there last year.

The Denny Wood Campsite was closed to cars due to Coronavirus and so I had to park on the outside and walk through to the southern end where I had seen the flycatchers last year. This was fortunate as on the walk through the emptyy campsite I found a lovely obliging singing male Redstart. He continually returned to the same bare branches at the top of a tree and so I set up and made some sketches. With previous Redstart sketches, the singing male regularly moved between the treetops in a crowded canopy and so disappeared from view regularly and so sketching was very frustrating. Here the Redstart sang from the same small group of fully exposed bare branches.

I then headed off in search of the flycatcher and I found the same group of trees as last year and fairly soon I heard a singing Spotted Flycatcher. I spent an hour trying to get good enough views to sketch him but I think because it was still early in the season he was singing from high up in the treetops and moving around regularly. I saw him fairly well but very briefly on three occasions. I also watched a singing Firecrest showing off nicely while carrying a food item to a nearby nest no doubt.

I texted Dad about the Spotted Flycatcher and on the way back to the car added to my Redstart sketches as the male was still on top of his favourite tree. As I got back to the car Dad rang to say that they had tried and failed with my Ashlett Creek Nightingale and were now at Acres Down and had been told about a Wood Warbler singing there this morning. I decided to head there next.

Wood Warbler – Acres Down, New Forest – 18th May 2020

I arrived and noticed on ‘find my friends’ that Dad was now at the raptor watchpoint with Martin Terry. The Wood Warbler had been near the s-bends in the wood below the car park. I gave it 30 minutes but there was no sign. I managed to see a Firecrest which showed well preening low down in a pine sapling and I also had a second Spotted Flycatcher for the day.

As I got back home Dad rang to say that they had managed to see a Honey Buzzard and also that there were two Little Ringed Plover at Testwood Lakes. 

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