30 Days Wild - Day 13

 30 Days Wild - Day 13 ~ 13th June 2015 ~

Whilst visiting a relative this morning, I got an email notification alerting me to a Black-eared Wheatear (eastern subspecies) at Acres Down in the New Forest. I was pretty annoyed because obviously I couldn't go straight away! On our way home I got the gutting news that the bird had flown so didn't try and persuade my parents to go, however only an hour or so later the bird was reported again! I deliberated over going for much longer than I should have done, but I eventually decided I wanted to go and persuaded my mum that as the weather was so lovely, wouldn't she like to spend it down in the New Forest?

We headed down and about 45 minutes later we arrived on site. There were loads of cars there so it was quite exciting to find somewhere suitable to park on the soft, grassy, muddy verges! And no sooner had we parked and got out of the car than someone driving past recognised me from my Springwatch appearance which was rather embarrassing!!

Shamefully, despite living in Hampshire, I have never paid a proper visit to Acres Down so it was quite exciting to finally get the chance to visit this much raved about area!

We spoke to a couple of birders who pointed us in the right direction though our hearts sank a little when they said it had flown off again!

But, we had come all that way so carried on and spoke to a couple more birders on the way to confirm we were going the right way and we soon arrived on a ridge where a couple of birders were walking up the hill towards us and gave us some directions of where to go which was very helpful! We headed down the hill and spotted lots of scope-weilding birders through the wood on the fence line of a field so we headed straight for them.

When we got to the fence, we joined a small group of birders who had a good view of the field and they pointed out where the bird was! I had a quick look through my bins before setting up the scope to get a better view. My mum got chatting to one of the birders there who, as it turned out, was the dad of someone I know through Facebook - an awesome photographer, Lisle Gwynn. I got some great views of the bird through the scope (once again, thanks Martin for letting me borrow it still!!!!) but unfortunately it was a bit distant for any good photos with my camera so I mainly stuck to using my phone to take pictures through the scope - a technique known as phone-scoping.

As well as seeing a stonking little bird, it was also nice to catch up with fellow NGBs Sam, Ephraim, Jake, George and Ollie.

My mum and I went for a walk in search of Honey Buzzard, Goshawk and Wood Warbler after we'd had our fill of the Wheatear but despite searching for over two hours, we failed dismally on that front - my 3 biggest tarts remain as such for now...

Here are some iPhone/phone-scoped photos from our little adventure:

Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica melanoleuca) 
Acres Down
Acres Down 
Acres Down
Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica melanoleuca) 

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