Hampshire

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major ©Mike Read Website

Hampshire Recording are (areas 11 & 12 in the Watsonian system) is co-terminus with the ceremonial county of the same name (although this is smaller than the former county which included Bournemouth and Christchurch that are now in Dorset). Hampshire is a large county in the south of England. It is bordered by Dorset to the west, Wiltshire to the northwest, Berkshire to the north, Surrey to the northeast, and Sussex to the east. The southern boundary is the coastline of the English Channel and the Solent, facing the Isle of Wight. The county has an area of c.3,700 km2 (1,400 square miles) and a population approaching two million, making it the 5th-most populous in England. The built-up area in the southeast of the county has a population of nearly 900,000 and contains the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth. In the northeast, the Farnborough/Aldershot conurbation extends into Berkshire and Surrey. The next-largest settlements are Basingstoke, Andover and the City of Winchester, the county town.

Undulating hills characterise much of the county. A belt of chalk crosses the county from north-west, where it forms the Hampshire Downs, to south-east, where it is part of the South Downs. The county’s major rivers rise in these hills; the Loddon and Wey drain north, into the Thames, and the famed chalk streams, the Itchen and Test, flow south into Southampton Water, a large estuary. In the south-east are Portsmouth Harbour, Langstone Harbour, and the western edge of Chichester Harbour, three large rias. Other important watercourses are the Hamble, Meon, Beaulieu and Lymington rivers. The Hampshire Avon, which links Stonehenge to the sea, passes through Fordingbridge and Ringwood and then forms the modern border between Hampshire and Dorset. The south-west contains the New Forest, which includes pasture, heath, and forest and is of the largest expanses of ancient woodland remaining in England. A large area of the downs is now protected from further agricultural damage by the East Hampshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The River Test has a growing number of otters as, increasingly, does the Itchen,[65] although other areas of the county have quite low numbers.

Farlington Marshes, 125 ha (310 acres) of flower-rich grazing marsh and saline lagoon at the north end of Langstone Harbour, is a nature reserve and an internationally important overwintering site for wildfowl.[71] In a valley on the downs is Selborne; the countryside surrounding the village was the location of Gilbert White’s pioneering observations on natural history. Hampshire contains two national parks; the New Forest is wholly within the county, and the South Downs National Park embraces parts of Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex; they are each overseen by a national park authority.

Birding Hampshire

Hampshire has a large number of outstanding birdwatching habitats, including ancient woodlands, chalk grassland, lowland heath, river valleys, lakes, reed-beds, coastal grazing marshes and inter-tidal mudflats. The only habitats it lacks are uplands and cliffs. Its wildlife is typical of the island of Great Britain. The New Forest is known for its ponies, which have free rein over much of the area. It also has a large free roaming herd of red deer.

New Forest in Autumn Colour ©Bo Beolens

The New Forest, with its pasture, woodland and heaths, is particularly noted for breeding raptors, such as, Hobby, and Honey Buzzard, and passerines, such as, Hawfinch, Wood Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Redstart and Stonechat. As well as over wintering Hen Harrier and regular Great Grey Shrike.

Hampshire’s coastline supports substantial colonies of breeding Black-headed Gulls, Sandwich Terns and Little Terns, and in winter, the harbours are taken over by vast numbers of migratory waders and wildfowl, including internationally significant numbers of Brent Geese, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit and many other species.

Keyhaven and Farlington Marshes are noteworthy for scarce migrants. Wigeon and Black-tailed Godwits are but two of the many species that over winter in the Avon Valley and the adjacent Blashford Lakes.

Finally, up to 10% of the British population of Stone Curlews still breed on the chalk uplands, despite ever-encroaching farming operations.

Top Sites
  • Blashford Lakes

    WebpageSatellite View
    Created from flooded gravel pits, Blashford Lakes is now a bustling centre of activity, used by thousands of birds all year round including kingfisher, lapwing and oystercatcher.
  • Eversley Gravel Pits

    WebpageSatellite View
    Now quarrying has finished, restoration is underway and habitats are being returned to a woodland and heather mosaic, achieved with heather reseeding. Over the coming years the quarry, an important part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area, will continue its gradual recovery, becoming better and better.
  • Farlington Marsh

    WebpageSatellite View
    Farlington Marshes, one of the Trust’s oldest nature reserves, is a coastal wildlife expanse with internationally important populations of wading birds and wildfowl.
  • Fishlake Meadows

    WebpageSatellite View
    During winter enjoy seeing marsh harrier and great white egret among a mass of birdlife. In late spring and early summer, warblers and cuckoo are in full song.
  • Fleet Pond

    WebpageSatellite View
    Fleet Pond is the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire and the nature reserve has 141 acres of varied habitats
  • Hook-with-Warsash

    WebpageSatellite View
    Varied coastal habitats of shingle, grassland, wetland and woodland at the mouth of the River Hamble
  • Lower Test Marshes

    WebpageSatellite View
    Autumn brings flocks of sand martin and swallow that gather over the reedbeds before their long flight back to Africa. Rare birds such as osprey and marsh harrier also stop by to visit this wetland. During the winter months the boardwalk across the reserve provides great viewing points from which to see great flocks of wigeon, teal and mallard. You may also see wading snipe and green sandpiper. During the spring and summer, Lower Test is alive with birdsong and an excellent place to see kingfisher. Hear the territorial songs to reed, sedge and Cetti’s warblers in the reedbeds.
  • Lymington to Keyhaven Marshes

    WebpageSatellite View
    Visit in the spring to see arriving migrant birds such as wheatear, swallow and tern. Vast numbers of black-headed gull can be found nesting on the islands among the mudflats and open water. Out at sea, cormorant dive for fish beneath the waves. Listen to the distinctive high-pitched sounds of redshank and oystercatcher as they wade through the marshes, looking for crustaceans, fish and molluscs to feed on.
  • Martin Down

    WebpageSatellite View
    This is the place to see and hear classic farmland birds, which have declined elsewhere, such as yellowhammers, whitethroats and skylarks. With luck you might even spot a covey of grey partridges crossing the bridleways. June or July is a good time to see turtle doves, as this is one of the most westerly sites for the species. In May, look for cuckoos singing from the hawthorns near the car parks and Bokerley Ditch.
  • Titchfield Haven

    WebpageSatellite View
    Titchfield Haven is home to an abundance of birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and plants. There's so much to see all year round. From soaring birds of prey to the most delicate butterfly...
Contributors
  • Keith Betton

    | keithbetton@hotmail.com

County Recorder
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 383

Checklist

  • Hampshire Checklist

    Checklist
    Birds of Hampshire – A Checklist – Third Edition (2019), written by Alan Cox, John Clark and John Eyre, is now available. It brings the Hampshire list up to a recent date and includes English and Scientific names, distribution and record notes on all 383 species on the Hampshire list and the 10 subspecies that we regularly monitor.
Useful Reading

  • Birds of Hampshire – A Checklist

    | By Alan Cox, John Clark & John Eyre | Hampshire Ornithological Society | 2019 | Edition 3 | Available from: Hampshire Ornithological Society | ISBN: Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Hampshire Bird Atlas 2007-2012

    | Edited by John Eyre | Hampshire Ornithological Society | 2015 | Paperback | 448 pages | ISBN: 9780956771261 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Hampshire Bird Report 2017

    | By Hampshire Ornithological Society | 2023 | Paperback | 266 pages | Latest here: https://www.hos.org.uk/welcome-to-the-hos-website/join-us/hampshire-bird-report/ ISBN: 9781999309206 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Rare Birds of Hampshire

    | By John Clark | Illustrated by Dan Powell | Hampshire Ornithological Society | 2022 | Hardback | 560 pages, colour & b/w photos, colour & b/w illustrations, colour tables | ISBN: 9781999309237 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Where to Watch Birds in Dorset, Hampshire & The Isle of Wight

    | By Dr G Green & M Cade | Christopher Helm | 2010 | Paperback | 384 pages, 44 b/w illustrations, 60 maps | ISBN: 9780713688139 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Organisations
  • Bird Aware Solent

    Webpage
    Bird Aware Solent raises awareness of the ducks, geese and wading birds that spend the winter on our special coastline.
  • Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

    Website
    Wildlife needs space. The nature reserves we manage are precious wildlife havens, alive with plants, birds, mammals and insects. But alone, they’re not enough to ensure that our wildlife survives and flourishes into the future.
  • Hampshire Ornithological Society

    Website
    The Hampshire Ornithological Society records and publishes information about wild birds in the county of Hampshire, England. This web site is for members and potential members of HOS. Hopefully, visitors to Hampshire will also find it useful
  • Hawk Conservancy Trust

    Website
    Our address is Hawk Conservancy Trust, Visitor Centre, Weyhill, Andover, Hampshire, SP11 8DY. By working with many organisations and conservation groups across the world, we are able to deliver conservation, education, rehabilitation and research programmes and generate awareness for birds of prey, their habitats and the problems they face. This includes projects such as the Raptor Nest Box and Red Kite reintroduction projects in the UK through to the International Vulture Programme in southern Africa and south Asia.
  • RSPB Basingstoke Local Group

    Webpage
    This is the website of the Basingstoke Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife.
  • RSPB New Forest Local Group

    Website
    We are an active local RSPB group covering the whole of the New Forest and neighbouring areas in Hampshire & Dorset. We have an extensive programme of walks throughout the year, plus monthly meetings ( 2nd Wednesday each month) in Lyndhurst Village Hall. Members and non-members welcome…
  • RSPB North East Hants Local Group

    Webpage
    The RSPB North East Hants Local Group offers a warm welcome to all in the Surrey/Hampshire border area who are interested in birds and nature at home and abroad. We offer plenty of opportunities to find out more at our indoor and outdoor meetings.
  • RSPB Portsmouth Local Group

    Webpage
    This is the website of the Portsmouth Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife.
  • RSPB Winchester Local Group

    Website
    This is the website of the Winchester Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area.
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • *Accessible Reserves

    WebpageSatellite View
    Each of the following links lead to a BFA assessment of the reserve by BFA members and others, using the BFA form. ALL types of mobility problem are assumed so there are details of path surfaces, gradients and distances as well as benches and hide details.
  • *Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust Sites

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Reserves, pictures etc.
  • LNR Baffins Pond Association

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    Baffins Pond is very popular with ducks and geese. You can expect to see Canada, Barnacle and Snow Geese, Coot, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Muscovy Duck and Swan. You might see Little Grebe, Cormorant and Pochard.
  • LNR Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Blashford Lakes nature reserve has a variety of habitats including ancient woodland, a New Forest stream and alder and willow carr woodland which surround a complex of flooded former gravel working. The reserve, managed by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, is open 9-4.30 daily with parking, toilets, 6 bird hides and good wheel-chair and push-chair access. There is an Education Centre that caters for school, youth, scouting and adult special interest or community groups throughout the year and a comprehensive programme of guided walks and family events.
  • LNR Bouldnor Forest

    WebpageSatellite View
    Unusual birds such as crossbills and goldcrests are abundant, and during the spring a host of heathland rarities brighten the restored clay heaths – you’ll see pale dog-violet, heath dog-violet and cyperus sedge blooming along the coastal path.
  • LNR Brook Meadow Conservation

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Brook Meadow is a lovely wet meadow in Emsworth, a small town in the south east corner of Hampshire in the UK. It consists of 5 acres of grassland, surrounded by woodlands and flanked by two streams…
  • LNR Farlington Marshes

    WebpageSatellite View
    A species-rich grazing marsh of international importance for the waders and wildfowl that it supports. Farlington Marsh is one of the Trust's oldest reserves and one that visitors return to year after year. This site is a coastal grazing marsh and lagoon which has several pools, both freshwater and brackish, and a broad stream which provide feeding and roosting sites for waders and wildfowl. It is internationally important for the bird population that is supports, such as bearded tit, sedge and reed warblers.
  • LNR Fishlake Meadows

    WebpageSatellite View
    During winter enjoy seeing marsh harrier and great white egret among a mass of birdlife. In late spring and early summer, warblers and cuckoo are in full song.
  • LNR Hook Common and Bartley Heath

    WebpageSatellite View
    The area is home to a range of birds including lesser spotted woodpecker, spotted flycatcher, crossbill, snipe, woodcock and tree pipit. On warm days, look for basking reptiles such as common lizard, slow worm, grass snake and adder on the open heath.
  • LNR Lower Test

    WebpageSatellite View
    Autumn brings flocks of sand martin and swallow that gather over the reedbeds before their long flight back to Africa. Rare birds such as osprey and marsh harrier also stop by to visit this wetland. During the winter months the boardwalk across the reserve provides great viewing points from which to see great flocks of wigeon, teal and mallard. You may also see wading snipe and green sandpiper. During the spring and summer, Lower Test is alive with birdsong and an excellent place to see kingfisher. Hear the territorial songs to reed, sedge and Cetti’s warblers in the reedbeds.
  • NNR Beacon Hill

    WebpageSatellite View
    The reserve is a good place to encounter many of the declining farmland bird species such as linnet and yellowhammer. Raptors such as the red kite, buzzard and kestrel can be seen, as well as summer migrants like whitethroats, willow warblers and blackcaps.
  • NNR Chichester Harbour Conservancy

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Chichester Harbour Conservancy is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty comprising 11sq miles of water and 11sq miles of land with 17 miles of well marked and lighted channels which, with its easy access to the Solent, makes it an ideal water recreation centre. There are many inter-related activities such as sailing, fishing, walking and wildfowling as well as nearly 9,000 vessels over 3 metres in length, 3,200 moorings, 2,000 berths in four marinas and 14 sailing clubs.
  • NNR Martin Down

    WebpageSatellite View
    Birds found at Martin Down include turtle dove, grey partridge, nightingale, skylark, yellowhammer and linnet. Hobby and quail may also be encountered and Montagu’s harrier and stone curlew sometimes visit the site.
  • NNR North Solent

    WebpageSatellite View
    In spring, breeding lapwing can be seen swooping high and low over the grassland, the avocet too are marking out their territories and making their presence felt. Other species, perhaps not as conspicuous, are redshank, skylark and a host of warblers, all bringing their individual calls to this peaceful area of Hampshire coast.
  • NNR Old Winchester Hill

    WebpageSatellite View
    The reserve is a good place to encounter many of the declining farmland bird species such as linnet, yellowhammer, corn bunting. Raptors such as the red kite, buzzard and kestrel can be seen, as well as summer migrants like whitethroats, willow warblers and blackcaps, and passing visitors including the wheatear and the ring ouzel.
  • NNR Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    Owned by Hampshire County Council since 1972, Titchfield Haven opened as a nature reserve in 1976 and gained the status of a National Nature Reserve in 1995. It now covers 350 acres of varied wetland habitats on either side of the River Meon, extending from the village of Titchfield to the shores of the Solent. With hides, paths, great birdwatching and nearby Haven House Visitor Centre, Titchfield Haven is well worth a visit. Over 170 species of birds are recorded at Titchfield Haven every year… disabled access is also highlighted.
  • RSPB Farnham Heath

    WebpageSatellite View
    Farnham Heath has been transformed into a beautiful heathland with views across the Weald. Explore this abundant site, rich with Roe Deer, Crossbills, Nightjars, Woodcocks and Tree Pipits.
  • RSPB Hazeley Heath

    WebpageSatellite View
    Hazeley Heath is a surviving vestige of a once sprawling lowland heathland of south England. This tranquil heathland is home to some very special wildlife such as nightjars, tree pipits, woodlarks and silver-studded blue butterflies. These heathland specialists depend on a habitat that is rarer than the Amazon rainforest. Lowland heath still faces significant threats that put pressure on the specialised wildlife that rely on a fragile habitat. If heathland is lost, so is its unique wildlife.
  • RSPB Langstone Harbour

    WebpageSatellite View
    The RSPB reserve occupies one third of Langstone Harbour - a muddy estuary that attracts large numbers of birds all year round. Terns, gulls and wading birds descend to breed on the islands in spring and summer, while thousands of waders and brent geese migrate from the Arctic to feed and roost in safety here.
  • RSPB Winterbourne Downs

    WebpageSatellite View
    Discover how wildlife-friendly farming can work for nature in the rolling chalk country. Here, buzzing bugs and flitting birds, make the most of wildflower grasslands created on fields once used for crops.
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • Going Birding in Hampshire

    Sightings
    Hampshire bird news
  • HOSList

    Mailing Group
    This list is intended for the discussion of all aspects of birding in Hampshire (UK). The list complements the website of the Hampshire Ornithological Society.
  • Hampshire Birding Group

    Information Exchange
    Members can invite others to the group and are encouraged to do so, no one is excluded but
  • Hampshire E-Bird

    Sightings
  • Hampshire Ornithological Society

    Facebook
    The Hampshire Ornithological Society (HOS) records and publishes information about wild birds in the county of Hampshire, England.
  • Hants Bird News

    @hantsbirdnews
    Sightings
  • Solent Forum

    Solent Forum
    The Solent Forum has prepared a Solent Habitat Information Pack which includes a series of habitat sheets for all the coastal and marine habitats found in the Solent.
Places to Stay


Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • Langstone Hotel - Hayling Island

    Accommodation
    The Langstone Hotel is located just 8 miles from Portsmouth, outside of Havant on the northern shore of Hayling Island. Overlooking the Langstone Estuary and Harbour, yet close to major road networks the Langstone Hotel is the perfect place for a short break
  • St. John's B&B - Hayling Island

    Accommodation
    St. John's Bed and Breakfast and Half Board Accommodation at Hayling Island, Hampshire, UK. Popular with birdwatchers - Perfect for a weekend or short break, or a relaxing holiday on the South Coast of England
Other Links
  • Really Wild Bird Food

    Website
    Really Wild Bird Food is headed by husband and wife team Richard and Lesley Smith, who run Street End Farm with support from a hard-working team of individuals who share their passion for delivering high-quality wild bird feed.
Blogs
  • Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust - Solent Reserves Blog

    BLOG
    Not updated since 2021 but still useful info
  • John Goodspeed - Wildlife in Portsmouth & Havant

    BLOG
    Welcome to John Goodspeed's web.
  • Simon Colenutt - The Deskbound Birder

    BLOG
    I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine's Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green.
  • Tony, Mark & Steve - The Three Amigo

    BLOG
    We are Tony, Mark and Steve, three birders who met up whilst serving in the Royal Navy. This Blog will be a record of our collective birding and wildlife watching exploits. Mainly in and around the county of Hampshire, but occasionally farther afield.
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Chris Packham

    Gallery
    Some brilliant images from the much travelled TV presenter and writer
  • Photographer - Martin Clay

    Facebook Page
    Born in 1986 and raised in Hampshire, Martin Clay has spent his whole life enthralled by the wonders of natural history.
  • Photographer - Mike Mockler

    Gallery
    Mike Mockler is an award-winning wildlife photographer with many published photographs to his name. His photographs have been used in countless books and magazines around the world, including the front covers. He is a past winner of the
  • Photographer - Mike Read

    Gallery
    Mike Read has a stunning collection of wildlife images, and has developed his own evocative style of landscape photography. His photographs are in constant demand, and are published in a growing number of countries around the world. Mike has co-authored and illustrated two books, and is working on more at present. He was the major commissioned photographer for the RSPBs calendar in their Centenary year (1989). Entitled The Heritage of Wild Birds; this calendar was a showcase for Mikes superb wildlife portraits and atmospheric reserve photographs.
  • Photographer - Richard Ford

    Gallery
    This Web site has been created as a place for me to display my wildlife images. Most will be taken with a Nikon Coolpix 995 digital camera, in Hampshire or certainly the south of England

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