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Raptors in Southampton/Hampshire

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Old Sunday 5th January 2020, 18:21   #1
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Raptors in Southampton/Hampshire

Good evening,

I was wondering if anyone could help me with good locations in the Southampton area or anywhere in Hampshire that is a good reliable place for either raptor viewing or owls. Raptors are my favourite class of birds and I've never seen an owl here in England. I appreciate specific locations cannot be shared but general areas would be fine.

Thank you for any help you may be able to provide.
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Old Sunday 5th January 2020, 19:25   #2
Deb Burhinus
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Nick - you would need to wait a few months but the New Forest ‘date with Nature’ run by the RSPB could be a good introductory starting point for you to explore the New Forest area - from the Forestry Commission Centre.

Later in the year (May/June) head to Acres Down in the NF - climb the hill and overlook Wicks Woods - this is a well known raptor view point. Over the years, (May-July) I’ve seen Goshawk, Honey Buzzards, Common Buzzards, Red Kites, Hobbies etc all in this area.

If you venture out and start exploring these areas (especially the heathland) anyway during the winter months, you’ll still very likely see Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel - if you're very lucky, Short-eared Owl and Merlin over heathland areas.

Relative rarities have popped up over the years too - Hen Harriers in the winter, Montagu’s Harrier Spring-late summer, Red-footed falcons in the Spring (overshots) -

Basically, the New Forest is excellent for raptors.

Last edited by Deb Burhinus : Sunday 5th January 2020 at 19:38.
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Old Monday 6th January 2020, 09:08   #3
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To get to see owls, it might be best if you can find an organized day (or rather, evening) trip for that specific purpose. Surely your local birdwatching or conservation societies have those?
Otherwise, you'd pretty much be restricted to chance encounters - which tend to be rarer and more random than with diurnal raptors - or knowing someone who's willing to share insider knowledge. Generally speaking, it's probably easiest if you find out the time of year where they are most vocally active in your region. In my experience, Tawny Owls are quite noisy during March.

Diurnal raptors such as CB, HB, White-tailed Eagle, and even Sparrowhawk and Red Kite are most reliably seen flying at noon or early afternoon in reasonably good weather when there are good thermals available.

Last edited by Sangahyando : Monday 6th January 2020 at 09:10.
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Old Tuesday 7th January 2020, 20:35   #4
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Thank you both for the info. Debs- I will certainly be making a few trips into the NF.
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