Titchfield Haven – 23 Feb

by A warbler a day

Yesterday i took a jaunt down to the coast at Titchfield Haven. This is a fantastic reserve at the mouth of the river Meon near Lee-on-Solent. There are now 8 hides across the site, which includes areas of open water, grazing marsh, reedbeds, shallow lagoons and woodland as well as the shore line. As usual I started with the hides on the eastern side of the Meon. By the visitor centre I found a new hide, the Cottage Hide, looking out on to the river with a feeding station in front. Initially it was very quiet, just a few Woodpigeon and Moorhen feeding on the grass between the hide and the river. then some small birds started to appear at the feeders including my first Reed Buntings of the year. Continuing up the path to Knights Bank Hide I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Jay and a Siskin before hearing the distinctive call of a Water Rail. However typically the little blighter stayed resolutely out of sight. In the same spot I heard a another call, ‘chip’. Then a small brown bird flew into the undergrowth and bingo, a Cetti’s Warbler. This is a recent colonist that is more often heard than seen, so always a good spot. The hides themselves provided little of interest other than a flock of feeding lapwing on the meadow and a distant buzzard being mobbed by crows.

The hides on the western bank of the Meon were also fairly quiet though the lagoon had several frisky Shelduck and a flock of Black-tailed Godwit. There was actually as much interest of the shore line with small groups of Dunlin and Ringed Plover darting over the mud amongst the may gulls. With 53 species in total, not a bad day.