Thursday, 5 January 2012

Driving South - Stone Roses

Driving south 'round midnight, man, I must have been insane.
Driving south 'round midnight in a howling hurricane.
I stopped for an old man hitcher at a lonely old crossroads.
He said I'm going nowhere 'cus I'm only here to see if I can steal your soul.

The 04:00 start paid dividends there being little or no traffic on the road, but then managed to drive straight past my first programmed port of call Fleet Pond in Hampshire. The rest of the day was spent in the county, starting with a search for another American vagrant, but there was time to stop and enjoy the

Sunrise over Beaulieu Pond.

Not at all an easy subject to photograph from the road and unfortunately no time to enter Beaulieu Abbey but the

Abbot's House presented no difficulty at all. Somewhere along the Beaulieu to Brockenhurst road stands

The Hawkhill Inclosure which due to explicit directions from Sheila Edwards was easy to find (thanks mate), now all I had to do was find the bird.

That too was made easy by the presence of 50 or so fellow birders (find the birders, find the bird) but the song remained the same "it was showing well earlier but hasn't been seen in the last half hour"! It was good to see a couple of familiar faces, including John Pitman, and luckily we didn't have to wait long as the

Dark-eyed Junco* (* addition to Year List) soon broke cover from the foliage of a recently fallen Pine Tree, wind blown during the ongoing gales.

Only giving brief, but good, views there was little likelihood of a photo call so these images are from the archive.

It was now time for a general wander through the New Forest, a National Park that covers some 220 square miles, hoping for an addition or 2 to the list. Unfortunately, there was little in the way of bird-life, only Raven* was added, but as ever there was much to see. Just a drop in the ocean, this sawn-off tree stump colonised by moss attracted my attention and reminded me of one of my favorite traditional sons written by Ralph Vaughn Williams/ Linden Lea contains the lyric "by the Oak tree's mossy moot" which somehow just does it for me, a fantastic song.

New Forest Pony.

The photo gallery could have been of epic proportions but managing to contain myself just this quaint Forest house is published as best speed had to be made for

at the western border of the county. A fantastic wetland converted from what was a gravel excavation site have held mixed fortunes for me, there always seem to be a host of good birds on the 'What's About' boards but I rarely see many of them. However, the first sighting today was the very best I could have wished for, as entering the Ivy Hide there before me stood my dear friends from Emsworth

Paul & Tess Lifton. None of us could believe the coincidence, but spent a great deal of time catching up.

Here too birds seemed a little thin on the ground, but Nuthatch*,

Marsh Tit,

Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin left, Goldfinch right plus

Great Spotted Woodpecker were all good to see.

Lesser Redpoll at close quarters.

Grey Squirrel sitting in his soup bowl.

My best photo of a Jay thus far, a Treecreeper*

plus a couple of distant male Goosander brought the visit to a close. To end the day, in company with the Lifton's, we drove back into the Forest to watch the traditional roost of Hawfinches* at the Arboretum along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive. I decided to B&B in the Forest with a view to entering Dorset airspace tomorrow. Talk to you then.

I'm not trying to make you I don't want to touch your skin. I know all there is to know about you and all your sins. Well you ain't too young or pretty and you sure as hell can't sing. Anytime you want to sell your soul I've got a toll-free number you can ring
0-8-0-0 treble-six oh yeah

The Year (January) List now stands at 127