A New Forest Church.

On this dull Wednesday, we stopped off at our favourite New Forest Churches.

St Nicholas Church Brockenhurst is the oldest church in the Forest. It is positioned on a mound, on the edge of the village which may have been a sacred site since pre-Christian times. A church is recorded at Brockenhurst in Domesday but the original Christian church was quite possibly established by Augustinians who established the priory at Christchurch. This church never seems to change except with the seasons. today it looks exactly the same as it did in 1980 when we got married there.

Male and female Blackbird.

War Graves in the Churchyard.

Details re the war graves copied from Commonwealth war graves commission webpage.

“Due to its proximity to the port of Southampton, its railway connections and an abundance of large houses in the area, Brockenhurst was chosen in 1915 by the War Office to become a hospital centre. Initially, Lady Hardinge’s Hospital (named after the wife of the Viceroy of India) for the Indian troops of the Lahore and Meerut Divisions was established south of the village. This was then replaced by No.1 New Zealand General Hospital in June 1916, after the Indian Divisions were replaced by ANZAC troops. The New Zealand Hospital remained at Brockenhurst until it closed early in 1919. The churchyard contains 106 graves of the First War, of which one hundred are in the New Zealand plot. In addition to the 93 New Zealand graves, there are also three Indian and three unidentified Belgian civilians (employed at the Sopley Forestry camp). On the East side of the New Zealand plot is a memorial incorporating a Cross.”

The snake man.

Harry ‘Brusher’ Mills was a hermit, a resident of the forest, he made his living as a snake catcher.  It is said he caught around 30,000 snakes during his 18 years as a snake catcher.

He was a man of few needs who loved the simple life, in a mud hut apart from a spell in the workhouse after catching influenza.

He was a popular character in Brockenhurst, regularly enjoying a tipple at The Railway Inn which today is named The Snakecatcher in his honour.

You are never far from a Robin in the New Forest.

Oystercatcher update +

Further to my post last week regarding the ringed Oystercatcher I spotted at Mayflower Park I have had some feedback.

The bird was 1st ringed as an adult in January 2019 in Southampton Water all recordings have been in the local area and all in the winter sadly as yet no summer sighting. UK numbers of Oystercatchers increase in the winter when birds come south from Norway so this bird could be one of those wintering birds.

Many thanks for the sighting could you please send the photo as a jpg attachment so I can enlarge it to help work out the black/blue ring. However, I think it has to be the bird below with a black ring. It is a bird we ringed at Dibden Bay as an adult on 1st date below. All such sightings are most useful.

FP45007 N O+R//NB 25-Jan-19 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 15-Nov-19 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 09-Dec-19 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 09-Dec-19 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 22-Jan-20 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 22-Jan-20 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 13-Nov-20 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 13-Nov-20 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 13-Nov-20 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 11-Nov-21 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 11-Nov-21 Cracknore Hard, Marchwood, Southampton Water.
FP45007 S O+R//NB 15-Dec-21 Cracknore Hard, Marchwood, Southampton Water.
FP45007 S O+R//NB 30-Jan-22 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 23-Feb-22 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 06-Oct-22 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 06-Oct-22 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 06-Oct-22 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 03-Nov-22 Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire, S England
FP45007 S O+R//NB 24-Nov-22 Mayflower Park, Southampton, Hampshire, S England

Some further bird spots.

Dunlin in non-breeding plumage.

Northern shoveler ducks.

Shelduck.

A town park.

A few hours in Mayflower Park Southampton this morning.

Mayflower Park is a waterfront park, in the old part of the City with views over the River Test. It is on reclaimed land near where the Mayflower left Southampton 400 years ago, Pilgrims embarked on their historic transatlantic voyage on August 15 1620. They were on two ships – the iconic Mayflower and the lesser-known Speedwell. The park is the only city centre waterside park with views across the River Test.

Feeding Gulls in the park.

There are always some shipping movements near the park.

An interesting lifeboat launch system on the bulk car transporter.

Herring Gulls, All different ages.

There were a few Oystercatchers on the grass of the park as the tide was high. One was ringed. So I sent off the details and I hope I will get some information on this bird. I will update my blog if I get any feedback.

After the rain.

We left home in heavy rain this morning and it looked like my walk into the New Forest may be a washout however the BBC weather forecast was correct and by 9.30 the sun was out and the Autumn colours were looking good.

Fallow Deer are the deer that most visitors to the New Forest see. Although not a native species, to the forest. The New Forest was William the Conqueror’s first hunting forest in England, and the hunting of fallow stags took place for over 900 years until it was outlawed in 1997.

I only saw one Stag but he was worth spotting and decided to sit down rather than move on!