Walk reports - March 2023

Walk report: 23 March 2023 Linford Botton with Jo Dowle

 Although the forecast for the day was for occasional heavy showers an intrepid group of 11 set off from the car park, having first proved the old adage that the best birds are often found in the car park. We had close views of a singing Chiffchaff in a Sallow and heard another one answering from trees near the stream.  Another was singing from a similar tree 100 yards into the walk and was still there when we returned along the same route a couple of hours later.  These tiny birds may have wintered locally or perhaps have recently returned from wintering in southern Europe and North Africa. Other birds seen and heard at the start were Chaffinches, Goldcrest and Blue and Long-tailed Tits.

Singing Chiffchaff © Richard Smith

Linford Bottom holds a beautiful stream, but was running so high that the surrounding area was very water-logged and muddy, so we headed into the enclosure and followed a cycle track to the north.  Along the route we heard two singing Mistle Thrushes, one perched high up on a pine tree despite the wind and living up to its old name of the Stormcock.  The track emerges back into the valley bottom where there is a beautiful grassy area covered with old ant mounds covered in mosses and other small plants.  Here we noticed a clump of Lesser Celandine not yet in flower.  We also had good views of a Red Kite soaring above us, easily riding the strong wind. 

Mistle Thrush © Richard Smith

The path leads past a pond and has some lovely old lichen covered trees, possibly crab apple, and a glorious flowering pussy willow. Heading into Roe Enclosure, we turned off the cycle track onto a grassy (and rather boggy) ride which leads past a hillside on which the map notes an iron age fort known as Castle Piece.  Where we stopped for a break there were a number of large pines that had been felled in a storm, showing their very shallow root system. Shortly before the track joins another cycle path we spotted a clump of what we happily assumed to be Wild Daffodils.  Linford Bottom & nearby Pinnick Wood are quoted by various sources as being one of the few locations in the New Forest for these.  

Wild Daffodil © Richard Smith

Passing Roe Cottage there was a pair of Grey Wagtails on the roof.  From a spot called Amie's Corner we headed south west through Red Shoot Wood which contains many old Hollies and oaks. This path eventually brought us up and out onto the corner of Rockford Common where we skirted large areas of flowering Gorse and finally headed back through the enclosure to the car park, ending our walk not long before the forecast rain finally started. JD

Our route
© Crown copyright 2023 Ordnance Survey. Media 006/23.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2023


Walk report from Wootton Bridge, 9th March 2023 with Derek and Lorraine Carter



Despite the wet conditions, a hardy band of folk gathered at Wootton Bridge car park, before heading over the Avon Water to enter Broadley Inclosure. There Wood Spurge and Foxgloves were starting to show, along with several ferns such as Hard and Hart's-tongue. We went deeper into the woodland, past many areas where wild dens had been made amongst the fallen leaves, presumably by children, before diverting down to open grassland by the Avon Water, which was flowing strongly. Here we were lucky to see Siskins, a Grey Wagtail and Song Thrush, along with the ever-present Robins and Blackbirds. A Green Woodpecker yaffled happily, but I don't think was seen.

Butcher's Broom © Chris Robinson


Returning to the original route more Siskins showed themselves and then the fungus Ergot was spotted at the side of the path. We left the Inclosure onto the open grass and heath area up towards Wootton, noting generally the progress of spring, for example on the opening buds and catkins of Willow and Hazel, but the cold and rain kept overt insect life out of view.

Damage to Holly © Chris Robinson

We puddle-hopped back towards the road, where three members of the group went directly back to the start, the rest of us crossing the road, past the first of many examples seen of Butcher's Broom, still showing it's berries, into the path that skirts the Wooton Coppice and Brownhill Inclosures. Open pastures on our left lacked the bird life that would probably have been there in better weather. We carried on past areas of beautiful, heavily mossed trees and banks, before turning right towards the last bit of our journey. Overhead, Buzzards were seen, then the eagle-eyed amongst us spotted that both Hazel and Larch were showing their tiny red flowers. 

Larch © Richard Smith


Frog spawn was quite plentiful in the shallow ditches alongside  path, a lot of it partly obscured by the rusty-brown silt surrounding it, but some of the last clumps had progressed into the early tadpole stages. Finally we found some lonely, small daffodils, but the hope that they might be of the native variety was short-lived, for they were probably just a small cultivated variety, such as Tête-à-tête, that had somehow made their way into the wild – we wonder what story lays behind that? D&LC

Our route
© Crown copyright 2023 Ordnance Survey. Media 006/23.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2023

Walk report: 06 March Keyhaven with Chris Robinson

The last ‘Birding’ walk of 2022/23 winter season was well attended despite the weather living up to the winter billing – it was cold! The tide was high.

A good day for raptors, though few really close sightings. Kestrel, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Red Kite and Peregrine all put in an appearance.

Marsh Harrier © Chris Robinson 

There were good numbers of Brent Geese, for once outnumbering Canada Geese. There were plenty of ducks, though fewer than of late. Maybe they are off on their travels. Gadwall were noticeable, have their numbers increased this year? A pair of Shelducks were on the first pool (before Keyhaven Lagoon). They have bred there in the past so this pair maybe setting up a territory. 

Shelduck © Chris Robinson

Little Egret © Richard Smith

Waders were generally sparse, only one Ringed Plover and one Ruff spotted. Curlew were around in ones and twos all the way round the sea wall. The Black-tailed Godwits were in several flocks of 20-30 birds (Avon Water, Fishtail). Dunlin and Turnstones seemed fewer than of late but that may be because of the tide. Lapwings were displaying all the way round the walk, as were Redshanks.

Black-tailed Godwits © Chris Robinson

Lapwing © Richard Smith

Turnstone © Richard Smith

The Spoonbill count was 9, including juveniles. There was a ‘raft’ of Great-crested Grebes on the sea near the Point. 

Spoonbill - immature © Chris Robinson

Small birds were scarce. Meadow and Rock pipits, one Reed bunting and a Goldcrest were seen, along with Skylarks (some singing). CR

This week's walk: 23 March 2023 Linford Bottom with Jo Dowle

Thursday 23 March Linford Bottom with Jo Dowle.

This General Interest walk is our regular fortnightly walk seting off from Linford Bottom car park at 10.00

Grid ref: SU181071

What3Words: picture.brotherly.highly


This week's talk: 14 March 2023: A Film Show presented by Manuel Hinge

Tuesday 14 March 2023 

at 7.15pm in St. Thomas’ Church Hall, Lymington

 A film show presented by Manuel Hinge

This will be our last Hall meeting of the winter.  Our speaker is Manuel Hinge, the well-known and locally based wildlife film maker, who will be showing us some of his short films.  Do come along to St Thomas Church Hall to enjoy some wonderful footage and some good company. Members free, visitors £5.00

The talk will last for approximately 60 minutes, followed by an opportunity to ask questions.

This week's walks: 06 March 2023 Keyhaven with Chris Robinson and 09 March Wootton Bridge with Lorraine and Derek Carter

Unusually we have two walks this week.

Monday 06 March Keyhaven with Chris, which is the last of our monthly winter bird walks until later in the year. Set off time 10.00

Grid ref: SZ308916

What3Words: dolphins.trendy.shrubbery

Parking fees apply.


Thursday 09 March Wootton Bridge with Lorraine and Derek

This General Interest walk is our regular fortnightly walk setting off from Wootton Bridge car park at 10.00

Grid ref: SZ250997

What3Words: ramming.pilots.mows

Walk report: 23 February 2023 Sturt with Julia Race & Andrea Janssens

Black-tailed Godwits in formation © Chris Robinson

Starting out towards Sturt Pond from the adjacent car park at 10 am under a cold grey sky, the tide was coming in with high tide due at 12.30 pm.  We saw Rooks and Wood Pigeons in the car park, while Black-headed Gulls and a Great Black-backed Gull hovered over the sea.  At the pond were Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Mallard, Black-tailed Godwit (one in breeding plumage), Redshank and a Little Egret. 

Common Teal © Richard Smith

Little Egret © Richard Smith

Walking alongside the channel below the spit we enjoyed an excellent view of a Little Egret feeding in the channel, shaking each leg in turn to dislodge its prey from the mud.  As we reached the footbridge we encountered a flock of twenty-two Mute Swans and looking out towards the spit a flock of more than fifty Brent Geese.

Curlew © Chris Robinson

Walking across the footbridge and taking the road towards Keyhaven we saw Pied Wagtail on the road.  Looking out over the water and mud we saw Oystercatchers, Curlew, Pintail, Redshank and Teal.  Taking a gate on the right to follow a path by the water we stopped to look at a Sea Mayweed un-seasonally in flower, and noticed the leaves of Spotted Medick along the path side.  

Sea Mayweed © Julia Race

Spotted Medick leaves © Julia Race

The sun came out and the sky brightened, in the water we spotted Dunlin, Spoonbill and Grey Plover.  Looking inland, a Roe Deer rested in the sun with a Pheasant in the nearby field, and a Jay heard.  A female Stonechat was found in the nearby hedge and a Wren in the reeds.

Stonechat - female © Chris Robinson

As we re-traced our steps a Skylark dropped into the field and a Reed Bunting was seen by the channel. Stopping in the hide by Sturt Pond we saw Collared Dove, Cormorant, Redshank, Teal and Jackdaw. JR & AJ

Reed Bunting - male © Chris Robinson

Our route
© Crown copyright 2023 Ordnance Survey. Media 006/23.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2023