Friday 3 March 2023

Titchfield Canal

Thursday 2 March

A lovely couple of hours birding first thing in the morning arriving at Titchfield canal car park at 8.15, albeit very cold if sunny with clear blue skies.  So cold following heavy overnight frost that I had to scrape the windscreen and still below 4C when I completed my visit with the return walk in a stiff, cold breeze and a some increasing cloud.  No sooner out of the car and I was recording Blue and Great Tits along with Dunnock, RobinBlackbird, Magpie and the first of very many Woodpigeons.  All dressed and prepared with scope, bins and camera so time to set off down the canal path to see what might be on the pools and wooded path.

The Titchfield canal path with the canal on right and flooded fields off to the left

No sooner off down the path when a Little Egret flew in from the fields to drop into the canal. A few moments later I was under the overhead wires to look across the filed and check the resident Barn Owls' nest in the broken tree on the far side. Both birds were way onside with only the crown of one faintly showing.  However, upon my return journey the sun was fully on the trees and the pair were resting near the entrance whole to seek some warmth.

Around the nesting rea a trio of Jackdaws were moving about and more were to be found at the end of the wooded trail.  Blue and Great Tits continued to put in an appearance and then the first Wren of the morning. Stopping to look back at the first stretch of water now that the sun was behind me, I soon found scores of Wigeon along with very many Pintail.  Also present were a handful of Gadwall and about a score of Teal and a couple of Shelduck.  Slightly further to the right I found a flock of Black-tailed Godwits and a lone Snipe.  Both Moorhen and Coot were also recorded as was the lone Herring and many Black-headed Gulls.

Approaching the bridge on the right I stopped to observe a Song Thrush singing from the top of a nearby tree and then a Goldcrest foraging lower down on the next large tree.  A couple of Blackbirds crossed the path to be quickly followed by a very active Great Spotted Woodpecker.  Whilst watching the woodpecker I was amazed to hear a Green Woodpecker "yaffling" away in the adjacent field.

Continuing on down the path I saw my first Chiffchaff of four to be seen in this area along with  trio of Long-tailed Tits.  On the large lake to my right many more Wigeon and especially Shoveler plus a handful of Canada Geese and a few Pintail and Teal.  Also at the back of the water was a single Mute Swan and a small number of Mallard.

Having recorded more Jackdaws and a dozen Canada Geese grazing on the meadow to my left, it was time to head back to the car park. Stopping to check what looked like a light mark at the top of a distant bush I discovered a male Reed Bunting.  At the back of the field beyond the can al I found a handful of Pied Wagtails and as I approached the Barn Owl site a Buzzard drifted over me on its way to the trees alongside the floods.  Indeed, checking the Barn Owl nest I found, as already mentioned, both birds resting just inside the nest entrance.

The Barn Owl Tyto alba pair

Once back at the car and the scope stored away I took a final walk around and through the small spinney at the back of the car park,  many more Blue and Great Tits along with another Robin and Dunnock and then, as I mad my way back, a Nuthatch arrived to work its way down the nearby tree to my left.  A most enjoyable couple of hours and not a single House Sparrow nor Starling!

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pintail, Little Egret, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Barn Owl, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting.

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