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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Birds, Insects & Plants. Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve. 02.05.22

This is one of my more typical blog posts; it is a log of the birds, insects and plants that I saw at Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve on 02.05.22

I travelled to Titchfield Haven from Brighton by train, bus and foot (Brighton to Fareham via Chichester by train [90 mins, or longer if there is a longer wait between connecting trains or bus and train]; Fareham to Stubbington Village by bus (Solent X5) [10 mins], and Stubbington to Titchfield Haven by foot [30 mins])

I have ordered this photos not entirely chronologically, as is more typical practice. In this post insects & plants and birds are presented separately (but within each category chronologically). Titchfield Haven is a reserve of two parts: the eats side of the Meon river, which runs through the middle of the reserve, and the west side of the Meon.

It comparison with other trips to Titchfield Haven there were less birds around; but this is to be expected as Titchfield is a reserve with an environment that is particularly friendly to winter migrants (waders and wildfowl).

Hill Head Beach on the Solent, into which the Meon flows (before going in to the reserve)


Turnstone and Mallard

Turnstones - summer plumage

One of Bird Aware Solent's excellent information placards; which reflect the seasonal changes on the Solent

Strong, confident and flipping busy Turnstone!

Yachts and the Isle of White

(Fawley Oil Refinery): a reminder that the Solent is a highly industrialized part of the UK and flora and non-human fauna have to compete with human activity (industry, housing and retail)

Insects and Plants - West side of the Meon

A micro moth on a Dandelion

Yellow Iris

Common Comfrey; a bee magnet!

A Carder (probably Common Carder) Bumblebee on Comfrey

A Damselfly; probably an female Azure Blue Damselfly. Females aren't necessarily the colour of the male form that leads to the naming. Entomology is quite a "male" science!!!!

Another Carder (probably a Common Carder), possibly carding its nest

Cercopis vulnerata (Black-and-Red Froghopper)

One of the largest homopterans (a group that includes leafhoppers and treehoppers) in the UK, this distinctive black and red creature starts its life in a froth of spit! It is an impressive jumper and when compared gram for gram, actually has a more powerful leap than a flea!

Notable feature: about 9-11mm in length. Glossy black and red in colour with brown, translucent, hind wings. From above these creatures resemble brightly coloured frogs.

Where in the UK: Throughout England and Wales but absent from Scotland. When to see: Adults from April to August

The adult Froghopper feeds by sucking on sap from the leaves and stems of various grasses and plants, while the nymphs will feed on the roots of these plants as it provides more effective cover for them.

Froghoppers are often more commonly referred to as spittle bugs, a reference to the froth/foam which their nymphs secrete and which is often found in fields, parks and hedgerows in late spring and referred to as cuckoo spit. These ‘foam nests’ protect the nymphs from predation and dehydration. The appearance of these spit deposits coincides with the arrival of migrating cuckoos hence the association and common reference to them as cuckoo spit.

This "Damselfly" is the exuvia of a Damselfly; the remains of an exoskeleton and related structures that are left after ecdysozoans (including insects, crustaceans and arachnids) have moulted. I found this out from the British = Dragonflies and Damselflies Facebook Group. Facebook may be a bit of a pain in some ways but if you are an amateur entomologist the insect groups are fabulous as they are full of experts who are very happy to help you.

Damselfly (the one above) and Alder Leaf Beetle

Status: Very rare in Britain. Previously classified as extinct, but specimens have been found recently and it is now considered 'Insufficiently Known' (RDB K) in the Red Data Book

Description Size: 6-7mm Basic colour: Deep metallic blue with a violet reflection. Pattern colour: None Number of spots: None Other colour forms: Sometimes Pronotoum: Deep metallic blue with a violet reflection. Leg colour: Deep metallic blue with a violet reflection. Has been considered in immigrant species, but this is not certain. Much life cycle information is from populations in France where new adults emerge in July and August, feed on alder leaves for 12-15 days, then enter a diapause on the ground surface, followed by hibernation until spring. Larvae usually feed on leaves of alders, but can develop on Downy Birch, Hazel and Goat Willow. Pupation occurs in an earth cell just below the ground surface, or in leaf litter. Adults can fly, but flight activity is low.

Biology Status: Very rare in Britain. Previously classified as extinct, but specimens have been found recently and it is now considered 'Insufficiently Known' (RDB K) in the Red Data Book. Habitat: Open, sunny areas in wetlands, especially alder carr. River banks. Wet woodland flushes. Host plant: Alders, hazel, hybrid black-poplars, Goat Willow. Overwintering: Adults overwinter in soil and leaf litter near host trees, emerging in April. Food: Alder leaves. Other notes: In southern France and Spain, adults may feed on fruits of the Rose family (e.g. pears, apples, plums, cherries). Agelastica alni (Linnaeus, 1758) | UK Beetle Recording (

One of the Megaloptera order of insects I think. That's the lowest taxon I can get to with this one! No idea what family, genus, and species it is .

Greater Pond Sedge

A type of Crane Fly on Greater Pond Sedge

Bulbous Bittercress

A Hoverfly; probably a Sphaerophoria genus species; possibly S. scipta

A Peacock Butterfly

Birds - west side of the Meon

A Lapwing

Black-Tailed Godwit and Black-Headed Gulls


Mallard ducklings

Black-Headed Gulls

Black-Headed Gulls

Black-Headed Gull and female Mallard

Black-Headed Gull

Black-Headed Gulls



Gadwall pair

Black-Headed Gulls, Lapwing and Oystercatcher

Little Egret (same bird)


Little Grebe

Carrion Crow

Black Headed Gulls, Lapwing and Oystercatcher (same group as above, different angle) plus Shelduck

Male Shoveler

Canada Geese and others!


Visitors Centre

Insects and Plants - East Side of the Meon

Holly Blue Butterfly

Bluebells with Common Carder Bumblebee (same bee in each photo)

Speckled Wood Butterfly


Equisetum are also known as horsetails or living fossils as they are the only living genus in Equisetaceae, a family of vascular plants which reproduce by spores rather than seeds. Plants have a rush-like appearance. Equisetum hyemale|rough horsetail/RHS Gardening

Bulbous Bittercress

Wood fungi, possible a Kuehneromyces genus species

Bracket fungus Various species in many related genera of higher fungi (Basidiomycotina) Bracket fungi / RHS Gardening

A footprint; a mystery; Deer have two "toes"; Badgers have "toes"!

Smoke from the north (field around Titchfield Village?)


A Female Azure Damselfly

Marigold with small Hoverfly

Greater Pond Sedge

Birds - East Side of the Meon

Juvenile Jay

A Great Black-Backed Gull and Black-Headed Gulls


Herring Gull

A Chiffchaff



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