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Titchfield Haven October 2017
With both a water rail and a snipe close to the reeds, quite a few black tailed godwits busy feeding and chattering between themselves, moorhen, redshank, black headed gulls, gadwall and teal all present we had seen quite a few species from the coast road before having entered the reserve. Single cormorant and common gulls sat on wooden posts and seven bearded tits lifted high from the reeds into the sky and swung around over the reserve before disappearing in to the distance. A little grebe was seen from the bridge and a chiffchaff momentarily perched on the wooden fence adjacent to the road. Opposite, four turnstones kept company with a party of 29 mallard close to the moored boats. A flock of oystercatchers had gathered on a shingle patch that remained uncovered by the incoming tide and amongst these were three Sandwich terns. One oystercatcher was so adorned with blotches of white down its neck and back, it looked as if someone had thrown paint over it. A wheatear then showed on the beach railings before being disturbed by dog walkers, whilst a couple of stonechats perched on a patch of bramble just beyond the reserve boundary.
Shortly before moving on to the reserve, two small flights of ringed plover arrived to join the oystercatchers. Once settled, they blended in perfectly with the stones and became very difficult to see. A wheatear close to the reserve entrance remained totally unfazed by a group of eleven people and another visitor exiting the reserve and continued to search for food just a few feet from us. Having found and gobbled down a tasty morsel, the bird flew across the road to try its luck on the beach. A Cetti’s warbler was seen by some as we approached the first hide. At the Meon Shore Hide, a juvenile ruff fed just outside the window. A few redshank, lapwings and dunlin diluted the dominance of black tailed godwits on the scrape and a single knot was seen before taking flight away from the reserve. Two snipe were located at the back of the scrape, a little egret on one of the islands, three wigeon on the water and another water rail skirting the reeds to the left of the hide. A group of oystercatchers flew in to join others already present and amongst these was the blotchy individual. Other species seen from the hide were stock dove, starlings, pied wagtail and two grey herons, one of which was perched precariously on a thin wooden stake at the edge of the reeds whilst the other preferred the relative comfort of the scrape.
From Pumfret Hide, we added a single shelduck, 14 shoveler, and a cock pheasant. A single Mediterranean gull was seen by amongst the numerous black headed gulls, but just as we were enjoying looking at it took flight from the shallow water and left the reserve. Looking back towards Meon Shore Hide, it became apparent that there were actually three little egrets on one of the islands. Lots of teal had assembled on the water and three snipe were counted feeding further away. Three grey herons flew on to the Meon Shore scrape before a male stonechat perched on a reed in front of the hide.
During lunch news reached us that a yellow browed warbler had been seen near the start of the new boardwalk to Knights Bank Hide. A couple of jays, and a dunnock appeared en route but we failed to find the warbler despite having been told that it had been seen just ten minutes before our arrival. From the Meadow Hide a magpie was seen tormenting a pair of kestrels and a large gathering of Canada geese were spread out on the grass to the left of the hide. Three little grebes were added from Suffern Hide before some of us returned to the Meon Shore hide until the reserve closed at 5.00 pm. At least 60 turnstones and a single dunlin had gathered on the beach near the sailing club, and house sparrows, starlings, long tailed tits, wren and blue tit were seen by the Visitor Centre. There were a few less birds on the scrape when we returned, but with the gulls beginning to gather and bathe in the fresh water, a single Mediterranean gull was found sat on a wooden post before taking flight all to quickly.