Woodlarks are fairly common throughout the New Forest and scarcer in the rest of Hampshire.
In the UK they are only found in the heathland areas of the south and in East Anglia; they are a nationally rare species.
Woodlarks prefer heathland, but are also found on open grassland and short pasture. Although commonest on the heaths of the New Forest they can occasionally be seen in the surrounding countryside too. Over the spring and summer they disperse to their breeding territories, but over the autumn and winter they flock together in small groups and can then be found on pasture fields and arable land in the surrounding countryside and coast.
The song is a beautiful series of descending, fluty notes. It is sometimes given in flight and sometimes from a high perch. The best way to see woodlarks is to go to areas with short grassland and heathland along woodland edges, such as along Denny Wood near Beaulieu Heath. A sunny morning between March and May gives you the best chance of finding one singing and thus seeing this rare species.
Photo credit: Mike Read