View Full Version : New Forest this weekend

Wednesday 16th November 2005, 18:10
Hi everyone,
I am planning a trip to the New Forest this weekend and was looking for any advice on where to go at this time of year. I would describe my wife and I as keen amateurs and we love the New Forest. Favourite places include the Eyeworth pond area around Fritham where we have seen our best New Forest spot of Merlin and which is always good for deer. Having read some of the other posts we will try Blackwater Arboretum but I wondered if anyone knew of any recent (or reliable) sightsings of Hawfinch, Crossbill or Lesser spotted woodpecker. We will try near the Bolderwood deer park (thought we might have glimpsed a lesser there last year) and War memorial area but have tried these every time we go and have had no luck at all !

This is our first trip at this time of year so any advice on the above or other areas would be greatly appreciated. I am starting to think hawfinch is a fictional bird

Thanks in advance,


Nina P
Wednesday 16th November 2005, 20:49
Boldrewood is reknowned for the lesser spotteds, but there are plenty of Dartfords around in the more moorland areas, I know I went out into the forest a couple of weeks ago and ended up in a place I couldn't name, had some interesting birds, that I believed to be woodlarks, but hadn't got my bins with me, as we were out walking dogs, but there were many birds I didn't ID that may well have been interesting.
The big trick of birding in the New Forest is don't make any plans, just meander through and see where the mood takes you, I have had my best birding sights doing just that. Crossbills have a habit of appearing beside the car in various car parks. I am happily aware that in meandering through the place you could get lost, but carry on and you will find the way out eventually!
I wish you a great time, and the best of luck in finding the missing ones for your lifers list, just keep looking! I got the Montague's Harrier this year, quite by accident too, good luck!

Wednesday 16th November 2005, 21:45
Hi Nina,
thanks for the response. Last time we went for a walk across acres down (I think that was what it was called) and ended up walking round in a big circle when I thought we were going in a straight line. We realised we'd gone wrong when we recognised a car in a car park as our own when I thought we were about 3 miles away !

I think we will go for a mooch round Bolderwood as we've not really explored that area much.

All the best,


John P
Thursday 17th November 2005, 10:00
You'll need to get your maps out to check which route you will take to Blackwater Arboretum.

The A35 is closed for roadworks for at least another three weeks between Lyndhurst and Holmsley Bridge.

Access to Blackwater will have to be South along Bolderwood Drive from the top end or going North from Brockenhurst along the Rheinfield Drive.

The Hawfinches do come in to roost at Blackwater Arboretum, and are quite easily seen but this is much earlier in the day than you might expect, last winter (not been yet this winter) in December they had usually disappeared out of sight lower down into the trees by about 3.00pm at the latest, the first ones would arrive for roosting as early as about 1.30pm.

From the Blackwater carpark, cross the road and walk a short way up the path and go through the gate, stop there and scan the tops of the trees to the south of the path, you will likely see other birders in the same spot so you will know you are in the right place.

Pitts Wood in the North of the Forest can also be a good spot for Hawfinch and Crossbill, not to mention the Great Grey Shrike that often frequents the area. Having said that, it was very quiet for good birds in that area last weekend.

Thursday 17th November 2005, 11:06
Hi John,
I didn't know about the roadworks so will plan our trip around them and maybe walk to Blackwater. It looks like Saturday afternoon will be at the Arboretum ! Thanks for the detailed directions which are extremely useful.

We have tried Pitts Wood a couple of times and like that area. We've yet to see the Hawfinch or Crossbill but did get great views of our first Dartford in that area earlier this year. A shrike would be a bit much to hope for.

Thanks again,