Pulborough Brooks Field Trip cancelled

It is with deep regret that I have had to cancel the planned field trip to Pulborough Brooks on Sunday 22 May 2016 as I was unable to find anyone available to take the responsibility to lead the trip.  If you were planning to visit the reserve, I would encourage you to do so, but it will not be part of an organised RSPB field trip covered by RSPB insurance.  There are a number of nightingales (8/9) singing on the reserve and they do not skulk as much as our local ones.  Hobby, cuckoo and garden warbler are also present.  The reserve also acts as a short term stopover site for migrants and vagrants and in the last few weeks has seen American wigeon, white stork, pallid swift and a group of 10 black-winged stilts.  Again, I apologise for having to cancel the formal visit and hope you will be able to come on future field trips.

Tony Bates – RSPB New Forest Local Group Leader

Springwatch and RSPB Arne Bioblitz

Join BBC Springwatch and the RSPB Arne team for a mammoth bioblitz, counting and identifying as many species as possible. You don’t need to be an expert to take part!
BBC Springwatch want to get people across the UK outside and stuck in looking for wildlife in their local patch. So to inspire the public, we’re jointly organising a mass descent of experts and enthusiastic amateurs to a nature reserve to survey everything from plants, lichens, moths, beetles and birds to reptiles, mammals and spiders.
The BBC have chosen to do this at the next home of Autumnwatch: RSPB Arne in Dorset, nearly 600 hectares of dry and wet lowland heath, reedbed, saltmarsh, mudflats, ancient oak woodland, wet woodland, pine forest, farmland, acid grassland and saline lagoons but is rather under-recorded.
When: 12 noon Wednesday 1 June to 12 noon Thursday 2 June, for as long as you can. The reserve team say they’ll keep going all night!
Who: It would be great to have experts in species identification but we also need people to go out and collect interesting things for others to ID — so all levels of expertise are welcome. If you’re spending half term with the family, then bring them along too!
Contact: Rob Farrington, Arne Visitor Experience Manager

Summer BBQ

Fingers crossed for good weather on Friday 10 June 2016 as this is Summer BBQ night.  Meet at the New Forest Anderwood BBQ site (SU 249 058) from about 5.00 pm.  We will provide charcoal, some burger buns, mustard and ketchup and some soft drinks, but please bring something to cook, alcoholic drinks, salads or other accompaniments, relishes, etc that you prefer.  Amplified music is not permitted in the forest, but acoustic music is OK, so bring along a guitar, mandolin, banjo or whatever.  There will be a £2 per head charge to cover the costs of hiring the site.  Some help with clearing up the site Saturday morning would be appreciated as it has to be spic and span by 10.00 am on Saturday, reading for that evenings revels.

For those who are interested, before dusk we plan to move on to Goatspen Plain car park in the hope of hearing, or even seeing, nightjar and possibly woodcock.  We’ll not stray far from the car park, but a torch would be useful and definitely bring insect repellent.

Hampshire Swift Survey on-line

The Hampshire Swift Survey is now available on-line at www.hampshireswifts.co.uk and we would encourage everyone based in Hampshire to submit as many observations as possible.  All records will be forwarded on to BTO BirdTrack and the RSPB at the end of the season. Please note that only data from 2016 should be entered.

Knowing where our swifts are nesting is vital when Hampshire Swifts are talking with planners, developers and ecologists, so thy are aiming for comprehensive coverage of the county.  If you can encourage other swift enthusiasts to contribute that would help enormously.

Finally, if you have any comments that would contribute to the clarity of the instructions or the form then please contact Andy Broadhurst.

Learn bird songs and calls

Nigel Matthews has kindly offered half-price taster sessions on bird song recognition for RSPB New Forest Local Group members.  His invitation is reproduced below.


“Dear RSPB members


If you would like to be better at recognising bird songs and calls and can reach various parts of the New Forest area by 7.00 am on a Saturday morning, I may be able to help.


Learn Bird Songs sessions typically last two or three hours. We rarely cover more than a mile or two because we’ve found it best to stand still and concentrate on what we can hear – the aim being to identify everything, including common species.


This year we started in January and we’ve had some wonderful mornings; last weekend we had nightingale, blackcap and garden warbler singing at the same time!


I have four sessions planned between now and 2 July 2016 to: Acres Down and surrounding woodlands (Saturday 14 May 2016) (for wood warbler, hawfinch, woodlark etc.); Roydon Woods (marsh tit, garden warbler); Martin Down (turtle dove, corn bunting, lesser whitethroat) and Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve (reed and sedge warblers, little tern, little ringed plover and lots more).


I already have at least five people booked on all these dates but would like to offer one-off, half-price taster sessions to RSPB members who have not attended before: up to four such places on each day. To check availability or be informed about future dates, please e-mail me at nigel-AT-matthews-online.co.uk (replace -AT- with @).  


Quoting from my website: ‘It’s much easier to identify birds if you know what they sound like. With help and practice, most people quickly learn to recognise at least the more common songs and calls. New species and less frequent vocalisations then stand out as being ‘different’, making country walks and even time in the back garden much more interesting and rewarding.’


‘Beginners are always welcome on these courses – as are those who know some species but want to learn more.’


For further information check out my website.


Nigel Matthews”


Next Outdoor Meeting

Our next field trip will be on Thursday, 12 May 2016.  Meet at 10.00 am at Pigbush car park on Beaulieu Road (SU 362 050).  There is a good chance of seeing some spring migrants such as cuckoo, willow warbler, hobby and redstart and a possibility of all three species of woodpecker.