7 December 2023 :
Forest Birds, Buzzards & Owls
Keith Partridge is the RSPB New Forest Leader. He gave the group a wonderful slideshow and talk on different British birds. We had a great turnout with lots of members braving the elements as well as nine non-member visitors.
The talk was split up by habitat; Villages & Towns, Farmland, Gardens, Forests and Wetlands, and Keith gave some interesting information on each of the birds he presented. Some notable comments;
Kingfishers ; to distinguish the male and female kingfishers, look at their bills. The male has a completely black beak, whereas the female looks as though she has "orange lipstick" on her under-beak!
Little Egrets ; these are slightly smaller than a heron - look out for their pure white plumage, black bill, black legs and fluorescent yellow feet!
Sea Eagles ; the size of a barn door, these eagles have been re-introduced to Poole and are now making their way east along the coast. Keith explained his concerns on the re-introduction given the eagles are taking curlew and lapwing which are already in decline.
Spoonbills ; Keith was amazed at seeing Spoonbills in Dorset - they have a spatula type beak to filter shrimp from the water.
Swifts ; these lovely birds do everything on the wing - eat, find a mate, mate and even sleep whilst still flying - they have power naps of 8 mins and glide for that time!
House Sparrows ; Keith started his talk by describing how beautiful the male house sparrow's markings are. He ended the talk by telling us that they have worked out that cigarette butts, brought into the nest, act to dissuade mites and fleas. However, somewhere in the country, a beautiful thatch cottage burned to the ground and they identified the cause to be a cigarette butt which hadn't been extinguished!
The audience were very appreciative of the speaker, and Keith spent some time on Q&A. The members then enjoyed some festive mince pies with their refreshments!