Trip reports

Week-end Walk at Titchfield Haven 27th April 2019

Week-end Walk at Titchfield Haven 27th April 2019
Avocet at Titchfield Haven 11JUN15. (Peter Hambrook)

Friday, 10 May 2019

Despite the strong winds forecast following Storm Hannah westward up the Channel, four hardy souls reported at Titchfield for the April walk. The sheltered harbour had its usual group of turnstones together with a few mallards. On the sea a few brave kite surfers were enjoying attempts to leap from the waves, while an oystercatcher was seen on the beach. On the island in the river cormorants and black headed gulls gathered, trying to keep out of the worst of the wind.

We turned inland toward the shelter of the Meon Hide. Numerous black-headed gulls crowded the islands bickering over nesting spots while those of amorous intent made efforts to land accurately and maintain position for long enough before being blown away by the stiff breeze. Seven avocets, mallard, gadwall, shoveler, moorhens and coots were in the water with the occasional Canada goose maintaining a low profile on the islands.

Heading down the western side of the reserve, Cetti's warblers and whitethroat were heard and a blackcap was heard and seen. A brief visit to the West Hide added nothing to our list
so, as the Pumfrett Hide was closed for bridge repairs, our next stop was the Spurgin Hide.
Here a group of around 50 black-tailed godwits occupied the pond in front of the hide with a
ducks and gulls further away.

We then returned to the Centre noticing a small group of common terns on a patch of seaweed just outside the harbour. The wind did not seem to have dropped significantly as we set out to explore the eastern side of the reserve. The first hide looks out over the river and apart from a buzzard sitting out of the wind on a fence post, offered little that we had not already noticed. As we approached the Knight's Bank Hide at the northern end of the reserve one of the slower members of the group noticed a Kestrel above, but this must have dropped behind as it was not seen from inside the hide. However, a male marsh harrier was then seen over the western side of the reserve, being buffeted by the wind as it made its way towards the sea. Shortly afterwards he returned at break-neck speed with the wind behind him. A male pheasant strutted his stuff on the open grassy area and several herons and a little egret frequented a sheltered pool on the far side.

Our next stop was the Meadow Hide. The occasional swift had been noticed earlier but now
a group of them were active over the meadows. During a brief visit to the Cottage Hide, close to the centre, house sparrows, chaffinches, a dunnock and a reed bunting visited the feeder and surrounding area. Returning to the shore, a late pair of Brent geese were seen on the beach and later, as the tide rose, the terns took off and flew towards the river. Despite the wind it had been an enjoyable day, sometimes made more interesting by the conditions.

The visit to Titchfield Haven completed a season of extremely favourable conditions for
the week-end outings, with only one wash-out. The 2019-2020 season will start on the last
Saturday in September with a visit to Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes, to make up for the
cancelled visit this year.

Legh Langston