Saturday 30th June – Monday 2nd July 2018SOUTH COAST WILDLIFE WEEKEND
We welcome back this popular tour to the New Forest in Hampshire as we seek out the specialities of this rich diverse area.
We should see European Nightjar, European Honey Buzzard, Northern Goshawk, Dartford Warbler, Woodlark and Common Redstart plus a superb selection of orchids such as Bog, Heath Fragrant, Bee and Heath Spotted.
Insects will not be forgotten with Dragonflies and Damselflies such as Scarce Blue-tailed, Southern, Small Red and Red-eyed along with Silver-studded Blue butterflies make this a trip not to be missed!!
Tour Leader: Steve Grimwade
Maximum Group Size: 8
We head south and spend the late morning/early afternoon in an area of woodland where both European Honey Buzzard and Northern Goshawk breed. From a viewpoint overlooking the forest we will scan for soaring raptors which will also include Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and the occasional Red Kite.
Hawfinch, Common Firecrest, Common Crossbill and Wood Warbler can be seen along the main trails and rides and butterflies include White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary.
Late afternoon we will visit a site that holds breeding Woodlark and Common Firecrest amongst many others. Fallow Deer are incredibly photogenic and the large pines attract Common Crossbill and Eurasian Siskin.
We will arrive at our base for the weekend and settle in before tucking into a delicious evening meal.
Overnight: Near Ringwood
After a good breakfast to kick off the day we head to the Hampshire Wildlife Trust reserve at Blashford Lakes. This extensive area of mixed habitat, from old gravel pits through to damp woodland and reedbeds attracts a whole host of great wildlife, including nesting waders such as Little Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Common Redshank and Northern Lapwing. Common Terns feed over the open water and Mediterranean Gulls are a regular feature in late summer. The sandy soils of the reserve hold Bee and Common Spotted Orchids.
Northern Raven, Common Buzzard and Red Kite are present in good numbers throughout the surrounding area.
During the afternoon we will visit several nearby sites to look for Red-eyed Damselflies, as they frequent lily pad covered ponds, plus a search will be made for the scarce Bog Orchid.
This orchid can be found in wet flashes amongst the heaths and are particularly prone to being trampled by animals and humans! Watching from a safe distance is the order of the day to keep disturbance to a minimum.
Common Redstart, Common Firecrest, Woodlark, Marsh Tit and Eurasian Nuthatch are frequently recorded in the area plus small numbers of Mandarin Duck which nest deep in the forest.
We head back for an early evening meal and afterwards visit a nearby heath where Dartford Warblers occur. As dusk falls we should hear the rich churring song of the European Nightjar. This crepuscular species nest in good numbers within the forest and we hope for good views. European Woodcock can also be seen 'roding' over the nearby woodlands.
Overnight: Near Ringwood
Our last day in the New Forest will be spent searching for dragonflies of the acid heathlands. Pools and streams could produce Keeled Skimmer, Small Red, Southern and Common Emerald Damselflies. Black Darter and Golden-ringed Dragonflies hunt for insects in sheltered spots and heathland plants include Bog Myrtle, Bog Asphodel and Round-leaved Sundew.
This Heather-rich area is a brilliant place to find Silver-studded Blue Butterflies as they flit about.
After lunch we will head to a quiet spot in the forest to seek out more specialist orchids that include Lesser Butterfly, Heath Fragrant and Heath Spotted before we make our way home after what will have a been a great weekend!
Half board accommodation
All ground transport
Full guiding throughout
Drinks and items of a personal nature
Relaxed, one to two miles walking per day
Expect around 70 species
Tour Price: £360
Single Supplement: £90