Sea fishing.

A solitary Little Egret quietly fishing as the tide comes in. This morning the rain arrived and the beach was almost empty of people I was able to sit down on the shingle and enjoy this egret going up and down and catching small fish.

Turnstones in August.

Turnstone on Meon Shore – The numbers of these little birds are increasing on our shores as they return from their arctic breeding ground to winter but they are present for most of the year in the UK as the non-breeding birds often stay through the summer. Birds from Northern Europe pass through in July and August and again in spring. Canadian and Greenland birds arrive in August and September and remain until April and May. Known in other countries as Ruddy Turnstone the “Ruddy” has been dropped here. Their colours are more muted in nonbreeding plumage. In the picture below the bird on the right shows breeding colours, the bird on the left colours has started to mute.

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Feed me, please!

Common Terns.

Birding watching on Meon Shore as the tide comes in.

The Common Tern colony at Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve numbers have increased in recent weeks, and parent birds along with their youngsters from other areas have joined our local birds. The birds rest up on the islands in the nature reserve when the tide is high then when the tide is low they rest up on the shingle banks and on the beach. The young birds are now going out into the Solent, to feed diving for small fish and shrimps. The juvenile birds are quickly learning this skill, although their feeding is still being supplemented by their parents. The clock is ticking they have to feed up as they leave our coast towards the end of August and September and migrate to Africa.

These picture shows that the mother knows best and she is undertakes the hard work of catching the meals to feed up one of her youngsters.

The juvenile birds have not fully developed their colouring – it is most noticeable that their black cap does not extend to the top of their bill.

I was pleased with the film I made of this young tern being fed by the adult bird, I thought once the youngster had eaten the large fish it would have been full but it had at least another 4 small fish.

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More Terns

Common Terns.

Another visit to Titchfield Haven nature reserve today to watch the Terns. As well as the adult birds lots of juvenile birds learn the ropes before they leave and head off to Africa from their parents.

The juvenile bird is on the left note the black cap not fully developed.

The Terns are the stars.

Common Terns at Titchfield Haven Nature reserve. A picture-heavy post. (includes some Red Shank & Black-headed gulls).

Common Terns are silvery-grey and white birds with long tails that have earned them the nickname sea-swallows They are graceful flight and frequently hover over water before plunging down for fish. They are often noisy. Each year nesting colonies are good at Titchfield Haven. UK breeding:12,000 pairs. I always look forward to their arrival in April and notice their absence when they leave in late August or early September. They migrate South to Africa after the breeding season.

Is this the end of the world as we know it?

We have survived a heatwave last 3 days the weather has caused a total meltdown here in the UK. Being obsessed with the weather we Brits have been totally preoccupied with what the temperature is and our infrastructure failings however we have short memories and in a few weeks, we will have forgotten what the effects of extreme heat are and climate changes are and we will return to our selfish ways.

A major fire swept through Hook nature reserve on Southampton Water near Washash.

We have been spending a lot of time during the heatwave by the sea at our usual spot on Meon Shore. The sea breeze helped cool the air and allow some comfort.

Probably the coolest place in the UK was on the water sailing in a yacht out in the Solent. These were sailing off Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Pictures were taken through a heavy heat haze from Meon Beach

Some people found other ways of keeping cool! Please note a hat is essential.

Some bird watching from the water’s edge. Despite the number of people on the beach birds were plentiful.

Oystercatchers.

Turnstones.

Herring Gull. (With attitude.)

Common Terns.

A young tern thinks he has caught a big fish!

Work goes on for others whatever the weather.

Experimental Hovercraft.

Shipping leaving port.

Search and Rescue Helicopter on patrol.

Thunderstorms and cooler weather are now forecast.

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”.

cooling off time.

Today the weather forecasters say it is the hottest day of the year in the UK.

This afternoon we went to the sea I had to have a swim to cool off.

As the tide went out I spent a hour watching an Egret fishing on the beach.