After visiting Beaulieu we headed off to a hotel near Beaulieu Road station which was very nice and wonderfully isolated in the middle of heathland, bogs and woods despite being on a main road and a busy railway line. The weather had been warm and pleasant at the motor museum but it was cool and cloudy by the time we reached the hotel. After a quick pint I headed off out for a look around but only saw stonechats, meadow pipits and siskins for my troubles but heading back to the hotel and swallows and house martins were having a hissy fit overhead, giving away the presence of a nice hobby casually circling around before drifting off out of sight, a juvenile bird with little red feathering in the thigh area.
After dinner I headed out again as dusk was falling but it was cold and windy with spits of rain at times. I heard a distant cuckoo calling in the woods and curlews giving their bubbling calls in the bogs but the best was a nightjar churring on the heath, distant and infrequent and difficult to hear at times with noise from the road, the trains and the wedding disco music from the hotel.
The following day and the forecast was dreadful - wet, cold and windy - but there appeared to be a brief drier window early in the morning and so I was up and out at 6am. It was cold with mizzle and drizzle and occasional light rain but I headed off anyway, not expecting to see much at all.
Heading off over the heath and a surprise was a brief churr from a nightjar in the area I had heard one the previous night, most odd in the early morning daylight. Stonechats and meadow pipits were flitting about and a common buzzard flew over. A cuckoo was heard calling and I had a brief view as it flew off from cover in a tree,
Reaching the woodland edge and I disturbed 2 birds feeding in the grass, noting their short tails as they flew off. Fortunately they landed nearby and I was delighted to see they were woodlarks, a well developed fledgling bird with an adult. The adult had distinct pale supercillia which met at the back of the nape and a small black and white mark at the bend of the wing. I had some nice views as they moved through the grass and I was very pleased to find them despite the weather, being my second sighting ever since my first in Suffolk in 1989(!).
I came across a large pool surrounded by sedges where a little egret and grey heron were feeding along with mallards while 2 lapwings noisily displayed overhead at times. Along the woodland edge I saw a pair of redstarts and then a second male bird with a third male bird heard only. A cuckoo continued to call and was joined briefly by a second bird but I never caught a sight of them.
I heard curlews calling over the bogs and had a distant flight view of 1 bird and I also saw at least 3 distant snipe in drumming display flight but I couldn't hear them in the wind. A reed bunting was singing away and I found some pretty flowers in the bog amongst the cotton grass, on checking my guide book they were bogbean, a new plant for me.