The Beach is partly closed.

The River Meon allowed sea-going vessels to reach the important trading centre of Titchfield with its large Abbey. Titchfield’s history stretches back to the 6th century. It operated as an important port and market town during medieval times. Ships entered the river at Hill Head and navigated their way up to Titchfield {about 2 miles inland} until as late as the start of the 17th century when silting started to restrict the passage. As the river continued to silt up the Titchfield Canal was built opening in 1611. It was only the second canal existing in Britain at the time. Soon the canal also suffered from silting and the sea trade moved away from Titchfield to nearby Southampton. At the same time as the canal was constructed, the outfall of the River Meon to the sea was dammed, creating the wetlands that now form the Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve. Around 1900 Hill Head consisted of only a few small cottages and fishermen’s wooden sheds located at Titchfield Haven. Over the years a small harbour was constructed for small pleasure boats, where the River Meon continues to flow into Southampton Water. Every few years the mouth of the harbour blocks up with silt and shingle and requires removal to allow its continued use. Over the next few days, the build-up is being removed, and the beach around the spit should be open by early next week.

From above!

On the Solent, we have some large clams about the size of a clenched fist. They were introduced from North America where it is known as a Quahog clam into British waters several times since the middle of the nineteenth century. The first live specimen was found in 1864 in the Humber.  It was successfully introduced from the USA into Southampton Water in 1925. These are long-lived species a clam dredged from Icelandic waters had lived for 400 years. Is this the longest-lived animal known to science.

An example of a clam from Southampton Water from a past blog to give an overview of their size.

It was about 10 years ago I first spotted Herring Gulls collecting bivalves such as cockles or mussels on the beach taking them to a height of about 30 feet into the air and dropping them, smashing open the shell to eat the prize inside.

Yesterday I watched a Herring Gull pull a Quahog clam from the beach and drop it to smash it. I think this could have been fatal if it had landed on someone’s head!

“Gull finds its clam”.

Once found it is time to pull it free of the beach.

Once it is extracted a second gull takes an interest in it – not wanting to give up his prize a scrap ensues.

Scrap over now it is time to get the clam into the air.

Once airborne the gull gains height and drops his “bomb”.