Thursday 23 March 2023

Titchfield District

Wednesday 22 March

Departing Fareham just after 10.30  and the forecast suggesting no rain before noon, I decided on a double Titchfield visit and, hopefully, back home before the promised rain. First port of call the Meon shore at Titchfield haven where I found the tide fully in and a good breeze creating choppy water.  Scoping near and far and left and right from the cliff top not a single bird in sight nevermind finding a Scoter or early tern.  So down to the harbour where a handful of mallard were resting and then to the road bridge to check the adjacent lower end of the reserve.  Hundreds of Black-headed Gulls and a small, huddled flock of about thirty Black-tailed Godwits sheltering on the grassy bank at the base of the fence. Slightly up river a lone Oystercatcher was resting on the end of a short pier. Looking at the island from the mirador just along the road, more Black-headed Gulls and a Teal but also Mallard, Gadwall and and a Little Grebe on the water. A Magpie flew over the reserve and a pair of Canada Geese headed up river from the coast. So back to the car via the back of the Visitors Centre where I also observed Great Tit and House Sparrows with more Woodpigeons as I walked up the hill along with a pair of Blackbirds and a Robin at the cliff top.  So on to Titchfield Canal and as I drive past the harbour a Pied Wagtail flew across the road in front of me.

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus

Once at the car park, plenty of room so, presumably, most of the daily dog-walkers had been and gone, and putting on my boots the welcome sounds of Blue Tit, Great Tit and Chiffchaff.  First a walk round the little spinney at the back which produced sightings of all the above and then off down the path towards the Barb Owl view point.  No shortage of Woodpigeons and the first of the carrion Crows plus a Magpie. However, with the Barn Owls not showing time to scope out the water below me where numerous gulls were seen resting.  A closer check with both bins and scope produced mainly Black-headed but also a good number of Mediterranean and a few Common Gulls in the mixed flock. Just to their side more than a handful of Herring Gulls including a number of immatures.  Working the water an octet of Gadwall plus the occasional Teal, Mallard and Shoveler.   Seven Cormorants were also resting on the nearside bank and as I looked to the far side not only did I find a quintet of Shelduck but a dozen Black-tailed Godwits resting under a fallen tree. The three Canada Geese flew down river and the dozen Jackdaws continued to forage along the edges.

Continuing on down the path I was accompanied by the constant song of the Chiffchaffs and Robins and Great Spotted Woodpecker was busy drumming in the trees behind me accompanied by a second individual in the trees near the approaching avenue.  However, almost blasting my ears to my immediate front was the singing Song Thrush that I eventually found hidden by the surrounding twigs. Shame I couldn't get a decent focus on the bird.  Looking back at the floods I had just left I also picked up a few Coot at the far end.

Record shot of the singing Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

Approaching the bridge I found my first Long-tailed Tits, such lovely little birds but, none the less, a most powerful song. More Chiffchaff and Great Tits and then chance to see what was on the main lake to my left.  Scores of Shoveler along with more Black-headed Gulls and a few Gadwall and Teal.  At the back a pair of Mute Swans and a small number of resting Black-tailed Godwits on the bank.  It was whilst studying the far side that I came across a most unexpected sight with a dozen Tufted Duck on the water.  A first for me which, probably, suggests the water is deeper than I had imagined. A single Moorhen paddles across and more Coot were noticed.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula at the back of the lake

At the end of the tarmacked path time to hear a Cetti's Warbler blasting out and found more Chiffchaff along with a couple of Blackbirds.  A pair of Long-tailed Tits were working the tree next to me and setting off on the return walk along came the rain!  But just a light shower and stopped almost before it had begun and followed by growing sunshine, which lasted for the rest of the day. A last look at the lake actually produced a couple of well-hidden Pintails at the back of the water and once back at the original floods a second pair were feeding on the open water.  At the far end of the water to almost complete the gull list was a single Great Black-backed Gull but no sign of the missing Lesser black-backed Gull! Finally, more Robins and then a Greenfinch "weezing" away from the top of a tree in the car park to complete the morning's birding.

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker,  Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cettti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Greenfinch

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