• Sim Elliott

A first visit to Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, on the Solent, Hampshire. 15.01.22

Updated: Feb 24

Titchfield Haven is located on the coast of the Solent, almost directly opposite Cowes on the Isle of White, and just to the north east of Lee-On-the-Solent. I reached the reserve by public transport. Details of the journey, with train and bus times can be found at the end of this post.


The Reserve covers 369 acres of the Meon Valley, encompassing a mosaic of natural habitats. River, fen, pools, reedbed and meadow are carefully managed, giving protection to a range of special wildlife. Water Vole were re-introduced in 2013 and Ratty can now frequently be seen in the canal and ditches on the Reserve. Nature at Titchfield Haven | Hampshire County Council (hants.gov.uk)

These maps are screen shots from: Explore the Reserve | Hampshire County Council (hants.gov.uk)


Birdwatcing and Wildlife

The reserve is a year-round attraction; it’s a winter refuge for ducks, geese and wading birds and it’s a summer breeding ground for the rare Avocet. In the past, sightings include a pair of breeding marsh harriers and a Squacco Heron. Birdwatchers often remark how close they can get to the wildlife, thanks to the posts in front of the hides and fallen trees in the river where birds rest. Sometimes otters play in the river as well. The larger Walkway Pond has an island refuge and attracts birds such as the Moorhen, Mallard and a variety of warblers. You can reach every hide via the network of paths and boardwalks that meander through the natural landscape. https://www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/things-to-do/titchfield-haven-national-nature-reserve-p1521681


Birds seen: Brent Geese, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Little Grebes, Canada Geese, Mallards, Shovelers, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Shelducks, Lapwings, Black-Tailed Godwits, Snipe, Avocets, Turnstones, Little Egrets, Coots, Moorhens, Starlings, Great Crested Grebes, Carrion Crows, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Harriers, Starlings, House Sparrows, Carrion Crows, Magpies, Black-Headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Great Black-Backed Gulls, Long-Tailed Tits, Great Tits, Pied Wagtails


Along the Solent shore to Titchfield


A view of Victoria and Albert's Isle of White Osbourne House

from next to the Osborne View pub!

Hill Head Sailing Club


Canada Geese flying over the entry to the reserve


Mallards and Turnstones in the small harbour of the River Meon, as it enters the Solent, next to Hill Head Sailing Club


A great sign from Bird Aware Solent. We raise awareness of the birds that spend time on our Solent coastline and encourage everyone to share our shores with wildlife. Home - Bird Aware Solent And sadly very needed; I saw a dog owner with his two dog, walk his dogs, off lead, straight into a flock of Oystercatchers and Brent Geese, foraging on a shingle tombolo just next to this sign. All these birds flew off immediately, wasting valuable energy. Bird Aware Solent has an excellent list of suggested shore walks: Rangers' recommended waterside walks - Bird Aware Solent and a very useful page of bords that can be seen on the Solent: Meet the birds - Bird Aware Solent


Different tidal streams of water in the Solent meeting.


Looking into the reserve on the way to the visitors centre. Canada Geese, Lapwings, Herring Gulls, Black-Headed Gulls, Wigeon and Cormorants


The sightings board in the visiots centre

(I looked hard for the Eider Ducks, but couldn't see them!)


Reserve map


Boardwalk Trail (east side of the Meon)


Marsh Harrier over the Meon, and reed on western banks of the river,


Canada Geese on the Meon


A Teal


The Suffern Hide


A Great Red-Headed Woodpecker from the board walk.


The Meadow Hide

Brown water form the minerals in the soil from the boardwalk to the Meadow Hight

What yoi can see from the Meadow Hide


A Great Tit in the trees along the boardwalk


A not-great photo of a Long-Tailed Tit in the trees along the board walk.


An owl sculpture


From the Knights Bank Hide


A Grey Heron


Herring Gulls, Oystercatchers, Black-Tailed Godwits, Lapwings, and Cormorants


Canada Geese, Herring Gulls, and Oystercatchers including a leucistic Oystercatcher (with white spots)



Fairy/Elf doors for children to look out for


From the Solent shore front - between the reserve walks


Mallards near the mouth of the Meon


Canada Geese near the mouth of the Meon


Turnstones in Hill Head Harbour


A Carrion Crow on a bench, next to the bench on which I ate my packed lunch


A Brent Goose on a shingle tombolo in the Solent


An Oystercatcher along from the Brent Goose


Scrapes Trail (west side of the Meon)


South Scrape


From the Meon Shore Hide


Shovelers


Pied Wagtail


Carrion Crow

Lapwing


Oystercatchers

and a Black-Headed Gull, Coot, and Lapwings

A Teal


Oystercatchers, Back-Headed Gull, Lapwings, Avocets and a Mallard


Shelducks, Gadwall, Lapwings, Mallards, Black-Tailed Godwit, Oystercatchers


Shelducks, Gadwall, Lapwings, Herring Gulls, and a Black-Tailed Godwit




Lapwings, Wigeon, Teal and a Snipe


Female Teal


Black-Tailed Godwit and Lapwing


A pair of Shovelers, shovelling


Teal

A male Shelduck showing off, to a prospective mate/ And Lapwings


A Black-Tailed Godwit with Lapwings, Real an a Shelduck at the back.


From the Pumfrett Hide


Lapwings


Inside the Pumfrett Hide



North scrape


Walking back to the west entrance


A Woodpigeon standing on the rails of a viewing point, looking at the birds


Bret Geese flying east to west over the Solent


Little Grebe, at the bottom of the Meon


Looking over the Meon


Along the Solent shore walking past Hill Head to Stubbington


Brent Geese in the Solent


Dunlin on the Solent shore


Ringed Plovers


Gadwall


Brent Geese landing


Starlings in the rigging of yachts in Hill Head Sailing Club


Toward Lee-on-the-Solent


A Little Grebe in the harbour


Mallards and Black-headed Gulls in the harbour


Hill Head Harbour, looking west



Redshank, Hill Head Beach


Sun seeing over the Isle of White



I took the train from Brighton to Fareham, changing at Chichester (journey time: around 1hy 20mins; two trains an hour). Rail times can be found here: National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables). Then took the X5 bus from the bus stop opposite Fareham Rail Station to Stubbington. From Stubbington it is a 20 minute walk to the reserve entrance; for details see: X5 - WestQuay - Gosport Bus Station – First Portsmouth, Fareham & Gosport – bustimes.org (hourly service at weekends; every 20 minutes on weekdays; journey time: 13 minutes). It is possible to get the 21 bus from Fareham to Hill Head Road, right next to the reserve, but it only runs every two hours on weekdays and there are four buses a day on Saturdays; see: 21 - Fareham Bus Station - Hill Head Road – First Portsmouth, Fareham & Gosport – bustimes.org

But on the way back! A sign of the times; train drivers in covid isolation.


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