Grayling (butterfly) the Master of disguise and a Beautiful Demoiselle
Southern Damselfly (next three images, male the first two and a female)
Crockford stream New Forest.
When the sun came out so did the insects and Dartford Warblers.
We left Whitminster at 0700 stopping off at a service area as we entered the New Forest, our first walk was around the Beaulieu road station heath where we had calling Green Woopecker, Siskins, Kestrel, Coal Tits, plenty of Stonechat with young, a couple of Azure Damselflies and a Grayling. The cloud had built and light drizzle saw us head back to the car. A short drive away passing the Beaulieu river with Oystercatchers and young and we arrived at the Crockford Clump, it started to rain properly so we sheltered and waited, even so we saw a Cuckoo, Meadow Pipits, Great Spotted Woodpecker and more Stonechats. When it cleared we followed the stream onto the heath, very soon I could hear juvenile Dartford Warblers calling and after a bit of group fieldcraft we all got good views. The warmth had brought lots of insects out and we had plenty of Keeled Skimmer, Common Darter, c10 Southern Damselfly, c 10 Beautiful Demoiselle, a Golden ringed Dragonfly and Black Darters (newly emerged-teneral). We also saw a Holly Blue near the stream and many Silver studded Blues on the heath.
Silver studded Blue
Initially causing much discussion within the group, the broad black fringe on the wings show that it is this species and not Common Blue, a smart butterfly that all of us enjoyed.
Moving on to Hatchet Pond we took another stroll on the heath but located nothing new bird wise, insects were still showing well a quick look at the mouth of the stream and a Common Blue, a Blue-tailed and two Scarce Blue-tailed Damselflies were noted.
Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly
We took in a stop at Lyndenhurst, Jayne and Rich had seen a chippy and loos the previous weekend and I got to sample my first ever mushy peas and chips combo! Thanks Bob. It turned into a lunch stop and when we finished we headed for Acres Down and the great view across the forest. Out on the ridge we saw Stonechat, a Crossbill flew over, a young Goshawk sat on top of a pine for a while whilst a Buzzard soared. Roberta saw what she though was a flash of red and called it as a Redstart, soon we were all watching c5 Redstarts dashing about with other passerines in the trees. Another short drive through some lovely oak wood and we explored Bolderwood, well after many of the group had got an ice cream. It is a popular stop so we had a lot of noise around which did not help with calls. A party of 8 Crossbill were in the tops of the pines, a Goldcrest was heard and a few tits. Heading N from here we crossed the heath and I saw a Woodlark with a caterpillar in its bill on the side of the road, sadly it flew down into a valley and was not seen again. We had a good look around another likely spot for them but found only Bullfinch, Tree Pipit, Lapwing and a juvenile Willow Warbler. It was time to head home as we had stayed out later than planned, it was a very pleasant day of wildlife watching.
Martin J McGill