Brief encounters

I’ve not visited Titchfield Haven in a while but this afternoon, after my driving lesson, I put that right. I didn’t have long but a short visit was better than no visit. Mum kindly dropped me off at the sailing club and left me to wander around before the reserve closed.

I started with a quick trip to the Meonshore Hide. It’s only mid-February but already feeling rather like Spring. The noisy black-headed gulls are increasing in numbers and slowly starting to re-establish nest sites on the islands. Some of them already had full black heads (well, dark brown hoods). Not long til the breeding season eh?

Sleeping lapwing

Sleeping lapwing

The lapwings too were starting to think it, with the odd one or two displaying.  I do like lapwings. Their lovely green plumage glistens in the sun, and looks even nicer! Another wader I was pleased to see was an avocet; 2 in fact. The avocets go elsewhere in winter, but in the spring and summer they hang out in the scrapes.

Avocets return

Avocets return

Another arrival was the Mediterranean gulls, only 7 reported today, but a welcomed sight. It took me a while to spot them although their distinctive call alerted me to their presence. It’s been a while since I heard that call. Some describe it as a cat, some as a “hello” and others as a yelp of pain… Either way, you can’t deny they’re lovely gulls so I’m lucky to live in the Solent where so many of them breed.

Mediterranean gull

Mediterranean gull

In the distance, on an island in North Scrape, the golden plover were roosting. There must’ve been around 100 – more than I’ve seen here before which was great. I never remember there being many golden plovers at Titchfield Haven, but I won’t complain if they become a regular visitor!

I decided to move on as some spoonbills had been reported for most of the week. Before heading towards the Meadow Hide, I stopped at the viewing point for the river. A female pochard caught my eye – my first this year. There were 2 common gulls as well, and a female marsh harrier also put in a brief appearance before dropping down below the reeds.

I was going  to check the meadow and river for spoonbills, but ended up getting distracted by the waders at Hill Head. Behind the sailing club, the turnstones, sanderling and dunlin were roosting and as the reserve was due to close in less than half an hour, I decided to stay and watch them instead of visiting another hide. These waders didn’t seem bothered by my presence at all.

I hope to become a more regular visitor throughout the rest of year.

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