Thursday 31 August 2023

Oriole Birding - New Forest - Day 4 - 12th July 2023

12th July 2023

We headed north after breakfast in the sunshine but by the time we reached Bentley Woods it was already clouding up and the wind was picking up – not ideal for Purple Emperors but it did not phase the Silver Washed Fritillaries which were patrolling the ride and giving grief to the Commas and Ringlets.  Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers were present along with a several late Large Skippers and quite a few Holly Blues and Red Admirals but try as we might the weather was keeping the Emperors and White Admirals high in the canopy. Ruddy and Common Darters used sticks to survey for prey with swivelly heads and we also saw first Southern Hawker but it too remained high up.

Silver Washed Fritillary

Silver Washed Fritillary

Silver Washed Fritillary


Holly Blue

Red Admiral



Speckled Wood

Meadow Brown


Dark and Speckled Bush Crickets were found along with a tiny Common Groundhopper and there were a few Hoverflies to check out along with Bombus vestalis and a male Bombus lucorum to go with the seven species already noted.  Fleabane Tortoise Bug was a cool find and not one I had ever heard of.

Speckled Bush Cricket and Tortoise Bug

 Dark Bush Cricket

Fleabane Tortoise Bug - Cassida murraea 

Wolf Spider

Episyrphus balteatus

Green Shieldbug nymph

Sicus ferrugineus

Dock Bug nymphs and Tortoise Bug

Eristalis pertinax

The rather fabulous Gypocoris stysi


Southern Hawker

Phyllonorycter coryli blotch mine on Hazel

Agrimony - amazingly burred seeds

The woods were fairly quiet but Song Thrushes, Nuthatch, Goldcrest and Marsh Tit were all encountered and yet another Crossbill ‘gypped’ overhead but it was the performance by the Firecrests that brought the most smiles.

We cut our losses and wiggled back across country back towards the New Forest and after encountering a giant Gorilla at a pub coffee stop we made it to Eyeworth Pond for lunch in the van. Inside as the heavens opened in a most energetic way. 

We spent the next couple of hours flitting between the pond, common and van as the weather repeatedly tried to catch us out. The pond was fantastic with countless Small Red-eyed (and bigger eyed cousins) zipping over the surface and settling on the lilies. Common Blues, Blue-tails, Emperors and Black-tailed Skimmers were also seen.

Small Red-eyed

A species of large Pondskater patrolled the water’s surface and a family of Kingfishers hunted from the overhangs although the kids were more intent of seeing what their parents had found.  Young Grey Wagtails bobbed along the edges and were joined by fellow bobbers, two Common Sandpipers.  Two Mandarin snuck past us with the bread crazed Mallards.


Common Sandpiper and Grey Wagtail


A circuit through the trees saw us stumble on a herd of 14 Fallow Deer and then two Redstarts hunting from the odd scraggly pony-chewed Hawthorns.  A party of 15 Mistle Thrushes foraged on the common and Stonechats popped up now and then.  Treecreepers, Bullfinches, Coal Tits and Nuthatches were seen on the way back and a family of recently fledged Spotted Flycatchers was enjoyed by everyone after they had given us the run around at other sites. 

Fallow Deer 

Fallow Deer 


Spotted Flycatcherlets

Coal Tit

Driving back through Boulderwood produced several ‘drive-by’ singing Firecrests and the incredibly sight of a Woodcock scuttling across the narrow road.  We got out and quietly approached the spot but it had melted simply melted away.

The day was ended at the once fabulous Burley Lawn but the stream edges were seriously degraded by the sheer number of Ponies and the water was no longer clear.  The only Odonata was a single Common Blue-tail.  A male Siskin did however perched up long enough for a look to round up another fine day that was not defeated by the weather.

Common Blue-tail

Marsh Skullcap - Scutellaria galericulata

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