I met up with Richard in the Pig Bush carpark from where we walked through a copse of mainly oak. Coming out, Richard caught sight of a redstart. Shortly afterwards, he had a hunch that a bird perched on the top of a lone birch was a woodlark. It helped that it stayed perched for a long time and via a magic app, the hunch was confirmed. A buzzard was loitering in the distance.
We then crossed a stream and followed a track skirting a semi open area of birch on one side and an area of bog enclosed by wood, on the other. At the end of the bog area, we passed through a small area of oak and holly, where we heard a nuthatch and saw our first song thrush.
We then came out onto an extensive enclosed grassy area populated with a few scattered oaks and a single scots pine from where we turned to walk down the wooded edge and then into the spacious feeling wood. Since none of the leaves were in leaf, mainly oak, a scattering of holly and beech, the sun was able to pour in. This made it easier to see blue tits, nuthatches, robins and chaffinches and hear the distinctive sound of a stock dove. Once again we arrived at the edge of the wood and while coming back from looking at two ancient oaks saw a song thrush go to and then sit on its nest in a low bush. A marsh tit then put in its appearance.
We followed a short track through heathland heather in order to get to a small bridge over the train line. This was in order to see if some rare narrow leaved vetch, found almost exclusively in the New Forest, was alive and well. It was.
Returning back to the car park over open heathland, we saw a single canada goose, some tadpoles and heard the song of a skylark.
The nerdy bit:
The first plantation act of 1698 took over 2000 acres and then 200 a year for 20 years totalling 6000 acres. The fences were to be removed after 20 years and new plantations allowed to take their place, effectively giving an additional 6000 acres, confirmed in the 1808 act. A sort of creeping expansion
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