|Eider Ducks Somateria mollissima at Meon shore
Wednesday 5 January
I knew it was going to be cold this morning so lots of thick jumpers on before venturing out to the car and clearing the ice off the windscreen. Just the bare 5C when I set off for Titchfield to walk the canal path to the coast - and wearing gloves! However, it was not to be as about 1500 metres into the walk the path became just too muddy to continued so returned to the car park and drove to the Mean shore at Titchwell Haven on the Southampton Water for a forty-five minutes stay as the water was approaching high tide.
As I arrived at the car park there were Jackdaws in the neighbouring field and a couple of Starlings on the nearby houses. Certainly no shortage of Wood Pigeons, most still resting in the trees alongside the narrow canal along with very regular sightings of the many Robins and Blackbirds. No sooner had I assed through the double gates than a small charm of Goldfinches flew into the tree on the other side of he canal, so revealing the feeding Long-tailed Tit. Further back a small party of Brent Geese were heading towards the shore and a couple of Carrion Crows could be seen. Time then to stop and admire the resting Barn Owl in its favoured hole in the dead tree at the back of the meadow. (What a shame that there are so many small twigs on the trees on the far bank so preventing clear line of sight of for the camera.)
|Barn Owl Tyto alba
On the large pond away to my left at least seventy Canada Geese along with very many Black-headed and a few Herring Gulls. the return walk also saw me find a quartet of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Along with the gulls and geese maybe as many as thirty Wigeon and a handful of Teal, not to mention the Coots. Continuing on down the path a number of Dunnock and Wrens plus a male Chaffinch. Also noted many Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits. On the way back I was to see a surprising Chiffchaff feeding in the tree top and as I pondered why another quintet were found feeding in the low vegetation on the other side of the canal. This time it was Greenfinch that provided the variety.
Approaching the car park on the return walk I found a couple of Common Gulls feeding in an empty field of grass and then stopped for another long look at the Barn Owls, yes two in the roosting hole, and noted the Stonechat midway from canal to dead tree. At the same time a flock of twenty Lapwing flew down to the large pool behind me where they were greeted by a few Mallard and many Wigeon.
|Many of the Turnstone Arenaria interpres roosting flock
Driving to relatively nearby Titchfield I parked above the shore on Cliff Road so giving a panoramic view over the Solent below. With the use of the scope I soon found the quintet of Eider Ducks and, having taken my photograph, continued on down the hill to check the shore birds. Walking through the Titchfield haven Visitors Centre I encountered more Robins along with both Dunnock and House Sparrows. The harbour beach was almost under water so pushing the Mallards and over forty Turnstones up nearer to the road.
|Dunnock Prunella modularis
Next across the road to the viewing point overlooking the large pool at the end of the Meon river where I found Mallards, Gadwall, Shelduck, Shoveler and Coots. A couple of Oystercatchers on the small island along with many Lapwing and Black-headed Gulls. Also present a single Little Grebe, a single sleeping Black-tailed Godwit and a trio of Cormorant plus, further upstream, a handful of Canada Geese.
|Can you find at east five species including Oystercatcher Haematopus ostrallegus?
Meanwhile, the harbour was rapidly filling and I noted the two Mute Swans. On the beach behind, the photographer at the water's edge was rather a "give away" as he was trying to photograph a sleeping flock of about forty Sanderling. Fortunately, I managed to get a record shot before the gentleman continued to approach the birds so moving them to the next section of beach where I was also able to identify a number of Ringed Plovers in the flock but then the step too far, so preventing me getting my more distant photograph as the whole flock took to the air and moved out to sea and away south. Only forty-five minutes on site but a total of 25 birds recorded to make a morning total of 41 species.
|Record shot f the sleeping Sanderling Calidris alba
Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Coot, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Sanderling, Black-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Barn Owl, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.
|Female House Sparrow Passer domesticus
|Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
|Male Shoveler Anas clypeata