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Birdlife in the Spring

Spring on the Common provides visitors with the opportunity to spot some scarce and occasionally spectacular birdlife.

Dunnocks, also commonly known as hedge sparrows, will be nesting and in full song.  They are very active little birds and unusual in that they often don’t form pairs to breed but will instead form a loose trio of birds to raise a family.

On the foreshore and creek, the ducks and waders start to thin out as the breeding birds move off to find nesting sites further north. The black-tailed godwits start to change to their breeding plumage to add a little colour just before they depart for Iceland or northern Europe.

Late spring sees the arrival of our summer visitors, mainly a selection of warblers – cettis, reed, willow and chiffchaff.  In recent years the Common has had a thriving population of breeding whitethroats. If you are lucky and observant you may see a passing dartford warbler; in the last few years these birds have been making use of the open Common when not in their breeding grounds in the New Forest.

Stonechats also become more noticeable often giving dog walkers a telling off for coming too close to their territory.  The warning call the male gives has been likened to the sound of clicking two pebbles together.

For the very observant there can be sightings of nightjars feeding on the multitude of flying insects on warm evenings and roosting through the day on the wood stacks left by the Conservation Volunteers after a morning of removing scrub from the Common.