Seashore Safari and a Spoonbill

At the start of last week, I began my work experience placement at Titchfield Haven. It has been interesting and varied so far and I’ve definitely learnt a lot from it. On Tuesday, I helped out with the Seashore Safari at Hill Head. Part of the idea of this event is to give children a list of items to find on the beach – including pebbles, feathers and a few invertebrates as well – so my job was to help them. It was useful to help out, because I learnt a lot as well as the families who attended!

Over the course of 2 hours many different species were found, so I now know a bit more than I did about how to ID species found on pebble/shingle beaches. Among the species seen were Shore Crabs. It was great to see them up close, and I was amazed at how varied they were.

A selection of Shorecrabs

A selection of Shore Crabs (Carcinus maenas)

A selection of Shorecrabs

A selection of Shore Crabs (Carcinus maenas)

A selection of Shorecrab

A selection of Shore Crabs (Carcinus maenas)

Another species spotted at Hill Head was a Sea Slater – it was a bit like a coastal woodlouse – and also a Beadlet Anemone.

Sea Slater (Ligia oceanica)

Sea Slater (Ligia oceanica)

Beadlet Anemone (Actinia equine)

Beadlet Anemone (Actinia equine)

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday were days involving practical work. Most of this involved cutting back the Blackthorn along the coastal path at Chilling. It had become quite overgrown so we were opening it up again and widening the path so it can be maintained by a tractor in future. No pictures, but we could see how much progress was made by the end of the day which was pleasing!

I didn’t get to spent much time birding during the week, but I did do a high tide count on Friday. It was fortunate timing as a Spoonbill had turned up the day before but this was the first chance I’d had to see it. Luckily it stayed, tucked behind an island in the 11 Acres Scrape which was the first place I checked.

Most of the waders were on the islands in the South Scrape, although there were 15+ Black-tailed Godwits and 5 Lapwing in the 11 Acres Scrape. The totals for waders at high tide are as follows:

80 Oystercatchers
26 Lapwing
2 Dunlin
1 Little Ringed Plover
8 Avocets
42 Black-tailed Godwits
3 Redshank
1 Snipe

Around Hill Head at low tide in the afternoon, there were 6 Ringed Plover – the first I’d seen this Autumn – and at least 67 Common Terns. Other birds to note on Friday was a Hobby, a Kingfisher, a Greylag Goose and a Wheatear.

 

 

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