Local Nature.

A day in and around Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve. After a gale force winds and rainy night – calm returned with daylight. With the promise of a bright day I made the most of what nature had to offer. Lots of good observation and a some new opportunities with a new macro lens to test out.

Part 1 “on the beach”.

A first at Meon Shore for me for a couple of years a Wheatear.(Juvenile) Wheatears arrive in the UK in early spring form Africa. Many breed in Europe but a few come all the way here. So I guess this young bird is getting ready for her 1st flight to Africa and will be heading off across Europe fairly soon.

Turnstone dominate the beach with small flocks moving along the shoreline turning seaweed and stones for small invertebrates.

Sporting their white winter colours 3 Sanderlings seem to be regularly on the shore over the past couple of weeks, their numbers should increase as we approach winter.

Today a lone Juvenile Ringed Plover was keeping close to the Sanderlings making a small flock for safety.

Part 2 “In the reserve”.

With it being so bright today the Redshank looked at their best with their red legs shining in sun.

The Water Rail is a bird that I have only seen a couple of times in my. life. They are fairly shy and spend a lot of time in dense undergrowth and reed edges. Today I was lucky to get my best view ever of this good looking bird, even better my camera was pointing the right way. So quite a few pictures posted today of this encounter.

A few dragonflies were about around the ponds. Migrant Hawker was the main species about today.

A small spider – possible “metellina segmentata”.

Got the hump!

Got the hump! (or ‘tubercles’)

Angular Orbweb Spider (Araneus angulatus) This is a scarce spider in the UK. It is only the second one I have seen – both this year.

My brother took these pictures on Wednesday of this Angular Orbweb Spider which had caught and wrapped a dragonfly for a few meals.

Today I went on the hunt for him and I thought he had moved on as there was no web where it had been. However after a bit of looking I found him sleeping on a dead thistle. I think on Wednesday he must have had his fill of food with the dragonfly and was still relaxing and full up.😎.

Below the spider today.

The abdomen of this spider has has an oak leaf pattern on the top, but the most distinctive features are the two horn-like projections called ‘tubercles’. marked with X in my picture below.

Meadow Pipit.

I have taken pictures of Rock Pipits before at Portland Bill. The different Pipits are a minefield to identify. – all little brown birds. I took these pipits at Keyhaven near Lymington and thought I would try and look them up in my bird book to try and get an identification. The Meadow Pipits were listed say they had long claws. – see pictures – note claws.

Big Mouth!

After watching this Great Black backed Gull on the beach as the sun started to go down I realised just how large they are and what a big mouth they have! Some facts below.

Body length – 25 to 31 inches, weight – 2 1/4 to 4 3/4 lbs Wingspan 5 to 5 1/2 feet.

They are the world’s largest gull – they are heavily built, big-billed and fiercely predatory.

This bird found this flat-fish caught out by the tide. Still alive and large enough to make someone a good fish supper.

After several attempts when the fish wriggled free – One large swallow and the fish was gone.