Titchfield Haven 29 October 2023

Twelve soon to be bedraggled souls met in the Yacht Club car park defying the dire forecast. Despite the optimism engendered by a few all too brief dry periods the theme of the day was heavy downpour alleviated from time to time by steady rain. The plan for the day was mainly shelter in the hides starting on the west side of the river. En route the viewpoint over the head of the river revealed only a few birds the most notable being a single Common Gull among the Cormorants and Coots. Further along the road a few waders were spotted sheltering behind groynes on the shingle, three each of Redshank, Turnstone and Sanderling but the sea was empty of bird life. From the Meon Shore hide an excellent array of waterfowl and waders were in view. Sixteen Snipe were the highlight showing their elegant plumage to advantage in the gloomy light and later their skills in flight. Oystercatchers were roosting in abundance in the company of a fair few Lapwings and a handful of Redshanks. Teal too were numerous with a scattering of Mallards, Shovelers, Moorhens and just one Shelduck. The next port of call was the Spurgin hide, taking advantage of a pause in the precipitation – as did a number of songbirds including Robins, a Blue Tit and a Chiffchaff. From the hide two Cetti’s Warblers made their presence felt while a large flock of Starlings could be seen perched atop a large tree. A female-type Marsh Harrier soon appeared flushing ducks and waders over a large area on its patrol. A Grey Heron and some Canada Geese were spotted distantly but the pools in front of the hide remained deserted. The return to the car park was marked by the discovery of a young and rather cold slow worm on the path and happily coincided with the driest part of the day. Back at the beach a patch of snow marked a tightly packed flock of over forty Sanderlings. Immediately after the local Merlin streaked from the visitors’ centre across the river and perched for distant viewing. Meanwhile a male Marsh Harrier decided to put on a show, roaming over the reeds and displaying its handsome plumage with a rainbow as the backdrop. Reality soon reasserted itself as the group was then imprisoned in their cars by drenching rain with just lunch for comfort. After that the Knights Bank hide became the destination. From there there was much to see on an area much more heavily flooded than usual. Large numbers of Gadwall, Mallards and Teal circulated with a few Wigeon. The Canada Geese flocked increased while a few Egyptian Geese were also seen. The gull flock included both Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls. The most striking sight came from perhaps a hundred Black-tailed Godwits feeding on the banks in the company of a good number of Lapwings. Both Marsh Harriers reappeared, one feeding on the meadow while the other discouraged a Common Buzzard from approaching. Sadly the three Glossy Ibis reported earlier in the day did not appear but despite the group’s travails it was accounted a successful walk with a list of 47 species.

























































































































































































































































Titchfield Haven 2 October 2022

A heavy downpour greeted the four hardy souls who defied the forecast of several hours’ rain. A scan of the shore and Solent did not improve the outlook as there was only a sprinkling of waders on the shingle. A handful of ringed plovers flitted around with a couple each of redshanks and turnstones among them. Two little grebes were an unexpected sighting at the edge of the sea while two great crested grebes could be seen further out. Some resplendent drake eiders were a cheering sight but after a fifteen-minute soaking a reviving cup of coffee beckoned. After the break the rain eased and from then the group was treated to a bright autumn day. Small numbers of ducks were seen at the river head including gadwall, shovelers and teal. The walk along the seawall to the west side delivered some nice birds, a common sandpiper, a rock pipit, a wheatear and eighteen recently arrived Brent geese. The Meon hide sported two curlew sandpipers that offered close views in good light. Redshanks, black-tailed godwits and dunlin pottered around in the mud while numerous lapwings indulged in their customary swoops. Several snipe were hiding in plain sight around the edges while a water rail scuttled briefly from cover. A flock of ringed plovers came off the sea with three sanderlings in their company. Stonechats were perched on the reeds and a yellow wagtail shot over. A lunch in the visitor centre (alas likely to be closed at the end of the year!) was followed by a walk along the east side. The river hide was unusually productive; two kingfishers were active, a sandwich tern flew along the river and swallow numbers increased markedly with the odd house and sand martin among them. Raptor contributions came from a sparrowhawk soaring above and a hobby hawking over the reeds. The meadow hide provided the final treat with three marsh harriers allowing prolonged views. It was a splendid walk with a list of 61 species.

Titchfield Haven 26 September 2021

Ten members met in the Sailing Club car park on an initially murky morning. The low tide gave an excellent opportunity to watch birds feeding on the shore. There were good numbers of ringed plovers, oystercatchers and the turnstones that are such a notable feature of this location. Among the flock were little egrets and a couple of sanderlings while half a dozen Brent geese provided an early portent of autumn. The star sighting though was a fresh-plumaged drake eider swam swimming on the Solent. The viewpoint over the Meon river was similarly productive. The low water prompted a water rail to emerge from the reedbed and forage in the mud allowing a close and extended view. Gadwall, a grey heron, a couple of redshanks and a great crested grebe were also on display. The sun then came out to enhance the viewing experience. The west side scrapes were much reduced in size because of recent lack of rain and the dried mud was extensive. Nevertheless there was a decent array of waders on show. Lapwings and black-tailed godwits were numerous. Common snipe were in the open, their plumage a treat for the eyes in the sunlight. The highlights were a handsome ruff close to the hide and for a fortunate few a jack snipe making a brief foray into the open while a rock pipit perched obligingly. The ducks present (many still in eclipse ) comprised numerous teal, gadwall, shovelers and mallards. Many swallows and a few sand martins flew through, heading south on migration. Later from the east side some distant house martins were seen. Overall it was a most enjoyable experience with some excellent sightings; species identified totalled 49.