Tuesday 9th February 2016 Light W Mostly Sunny, One heavy Hail shower PM
Through Lyndhurst, New Forest, I pause at a shop window. I must have what I see and enter the charity shop to buy such a wonderful item. It goes onto the back of Oscar the Orca and next to Scaggy the Rabbit.
The charity being supported by the shop is the Shaw Trust, a charity for helping disabled people into work, a very worthy cause and thank you Penny, the friendly lady at the counter, for pointing out Tigger's features to me.
To Acre's Down, I hide the bike and walk up a ridge. I have four target birds today; goshawk, hawfinch, lesser spotted woodpecker and crossbills. As soon as I reach the top of the ridge I can see a goshawk patrolling over a distant forest.
I walk another few hundred yards along the ridge, through silver birch and holly woodland and out onto gorse and heather heath. From a end viewpoint I sit and watch as the goshawk still flies along high over the trees.
Another birder, John, an ecologist from Oxford, joins me and we watch as the goshawk is joined by a larger female. The views of this pair are the best I have had of goshawk for a number of years. Previously I have watched these magnificent birds of prey at New Fancy RSPB viewpoint in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. This pair are much closer. John finds another one perched up on a tree quite some distance from us. I then see two hawfinches fly past us just after a raven has cronked it's way past us. Both sparrowhawk and buzzard pass us too.
I leave John to explore the woodland down in the valley and immediately notice a small herd of roe deer beneath some small holly trees. I kneel to photograph them just as a low flying goshawk glides past.
Deep in the wood of oak, beech and silver birch I find a fallen tree and sit on it in the hope that birds will pass. A very quick sparrowhawk does but little else in half an hour or so.
Moving along through the holly and alder trees, negotiating deep muddy depressions, I continue to search for birds yet seeing very few. A few long-tailed tits are in the birch canopy and there is the occasional singing robin. On reaching a gravelly bridleway, I stop as a great spotted woodpecker is drumming on a nearby oak tree. It tries one branch but it isn't resonant enough. It moves to another and the staccato sound produced is much more to the bird's liking.
A small flock of chaffinches lands on twigs of a silver birch nearby and then a flock of four crossbills lands on a tall oak behind them.
The blue sky has been replaced by threatening dark grey clouds and the hail that falls so intensely for twenty minutes or so covers the ground like snow.
The year lost now stands at 158 and may be seen on Bubo:-
This is nineteen ahead of where I was this time last year.