New Downs is another large area of mixed land use between farms, flood mitigation pools, and the River Stour. It’s a great place for a long walk within the Stour Valley Walk and England Coast Path.
In spring, this is a local hotspot for both Greenfinch and White Wagtail. You can often spot Avocet on the pools and maybe a passing Red Kite. Four-spotted Chaser is an early dragonfly species to look out for, particularly around the reedy areas.
In summer, listen for Reed Warblers in the ditches and Skylarks in the fields. You might find some large numbers of Mediterranean Gulls. Key invertebrates include Clouded Yellow and Essex Skipper butterflies as well as Red-veined Darter and Ruddy Darter dragonflies.
In autumn, the pools can hold many wading species such as Whimbrel, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, and Spotted Redshank, so don’t forget to brush up before you go. The bushes near New Downs New Pool are a great migrant trap and regularly provide interesting records, with Wryneck, Yellow-browed Warbler, Nightingale, and Pied Flycatcher all found recently. For late invertebrate species look for Black-tailed Skimmer and Migrant Hawker dragonflies and Firebugs on the Tree Mallow.
Winter is the time to see important flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover whirling around. They regularly attract in a few Redshanks and Dunlins whilst checking the surrounding reservoirs may provide you with Pochard, or even a scarce Grebe.