Spoonbills.

Second sighting this year May adult birds were visiting Titchfield Haven.

Two juvenile Spoonbills at Titchfield Haven this morning. Although they bred in East Anglia during Medieval times, spoonbills had not bred in Britain for over 300 years until 2010,

Male and female are similar but the female is slightly smaller.

Juvenile spoonbills resemble adults in non-breeding plumage but their bills are pink and lack the yellow tip. black wingtips seen in flight also help identify them as juveniles.

They are quite a rare sight in the UK (50 to 70 ) and only appear in a few locations.

Length: 80 – 90 cm

Wingspan: 120 – 135 cm

Weight: 1.3 – 2 kg

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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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Heron fishing.

Local Heron and an eel.

The Eel has recently suffered dramatic declines and is a protected species. It is famous for its mammoth migration from its freshwater home to the Sargasso Sea where it breeds. I have regularly seen eels being taken by Herons at Titchfield Nature Reserve. I have also found some on the beach.

Statistics

Length: up to 1m
Weight: 0.5-5kg
Average Lifespan: 15-70 years

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.

Summer Godwits.

The Black-tailed Godwit is a large, long-legged, long-billed shorebird. ( it is one of Europe’s larger wading birds). A number of these remain in the UK all year rather than migrate to their breeding grounds in Iceland. We are lucky to have a number of these birds all year round in Titchfield Haven

Hatching.

Black-headed gull chicks have started to appear at the nesting colony at Titchfield Haven.

Quite a long film of the nesting colony (note no sound) The chicks are only a few days old but will grow rapidly. There is one slightly older and larger chick in the film.