Tuesday 9 June 2020

Bird chat

We went for a walk in the New Forest today, from Burbush car park near Burley. Just 4 miles or so from our front door – aren't we fortunate!

Instead of walking along the old railway track towards Brockenhurst, which we've done once or twice recently, we headed northwest over the road. Here there is a mixture of heath and conifers, pretty sandy under foot with the land undulating in the general direction of Ringwood and the A31. In 34 years of living here, we can't remember having walked this stretch before. Not that we went particularly far – maybe two or three miles.

We saw just one other person about a mile away, and a glimpse of someone a bit nearer on the way back. What we did see, and hear, was a lot of birdlife. There were notices at the car park and one or two other spots about the need to take care, because of there currently being unusual numbers of rare groundnesting birds – one of the fruits of the pandemic. The air was alive with song. I'm no "twitcher", but it seemed obvious that a small bird complaining at our presence from a stubby tree should be called a stonechat. Then we heard a curlew that sang very persistently. Once in the shade of some trees we checked and confirmed our conclusions with an app my best beloved has recently put on her iPhone.

Curlews are apparently becoming increasingly rare in the New Forest, so it was very good to find at least one trying to pick the trend!