Trip reports

Weekend trip to Titchfield Haven

Weekend trip to Titchfield Haven
Tom Marshall (rspb-images.com)

Saturday, 29 September 2018

On a dry sunny morning we were greeted by a calm sea and low tide. Outside the Centre the harbour contained its usual crowd of turnstones, while on the beach and sandbars beyond black-backed gulls, oystercatchers, mute swans and a single little egret were present. On the opposite side of the road coots, little grebes and a water rail could be seen on the river bank. The artificial islands were shared by black-headed gulls and cormorants.
Entering the reserve by the main gate brought us to the Meon Shore hide. This overlooks the South Scrape with its islands busy as usual with lapwing and black-tailed godwits joined by at least 4 little egrets. Redshank were in evidence as well as a furtive water rail. Ducks on the water gradually regaining their winter plumage included mallard, gadwall, teal and the odd shoveler.
We then headed for the West Hide which overlooks an area of overgrown field and marshland with very little birdlife to be seen although this area should offer good grazing for geese later in the year.
The Pumfrett Hide a few hundred yards northwards into the reserve proved more rewarding. A long line of lapwing and gulls on a sandbar included a small group of snipe by the rushes at one end and a solitary avocet at the other end in the middle of the lake. This hide looks over two lakes and the various duck seen earlier were in view again with a group of canada geese. A buzzard perched on a post the other side of the river.
We did not think a visit to the next hide would add much to the day's viewing so turned back towards the Centre and heard Cetti's warblers in the reeds although they remained out of sight as usual. Walking back along the seawall a group of ringed plover were seen on the beach as the tide was rising.
After a brief lunch break in the café we set off to explore the area east of the river. By the Meadow hide a group of half a dozen stonechats were active. Magpies were seen over the fields and the buzzard seen earlier was active. A kestrel was busy over the hay fields and a hobby was seen high above the trees. Some of the group continued to the Knight's Bank Hide and were rewarded by the sight of a meadow pipit and a blackcap. Looking out over the river from the Spurgin Hide a pair of little grebe were busy diving for fish and moorhens and coots were on the far bank.
On yet another fine day extending the long hot Summer, we had seen a wide variety of bird life with no surprises, but 6 members of our group had an enjoyable experience with an attractive reserve looking its best. Maybe we need to return in the depths of Winter for better ornithological rewards.