A close view of 2 Snipe today – so no waffle just pictures to enjoy.
The hustle and bustle of the Black-headed gulls in their mating and breeding frenzy is well in the past as we move into winter. Calm is restored to their colony and the sound of their squabbling is quiet most of the time. Then someone throws a bird some food and from nowhere others swoop in from all directions and the noise starts up for a few minutes.
I spent 1/2 an hour today sitting on the step of our van feeding the gulls so I could capture some images of these birds so often overlooked.
- Length: 13.4-14.6 in (34-37 cm)
- Weight: 6.7-14.1 oz (190-400 g)
- Wingspan: 39.4-43.3 in (100-110 cm)
The black-headed gull is the most widely distributed seabird breeding in the UK, The majority of the breeding population are resident throughout the year, with numbers being greatly increased during the winter months by birds from northern and eastern Europe.
Up until the 1940s, there was commercial exploitation of Black-headed Gull breeding colonies which saw the collection of eggs and the taking of birds for meat. This was on an industrial scale with almost 300,000 eggs per year being sold at Leadenhall Market in London during the 1930s.
In Titchfield Haven harbour today among the mallard was a male mandarin duck with his ornate plumage and very distinctive long orange feathers on the side of the face, orange ‘sails’ on the back, and pale orange flanks. (The female is dull by comparison).
These ducks were introduced to the UK from China and have become established following escapes from captivity.
This was a 1st for me at the haven although I see them most winters in the New Forest on one of the ponds I visit. The mandarin duck nests in holes in trees, sometimes high up and a long way from the water.
A very short film of a Water Rail. This shows typical behaviour and why thay can be difficult to spot.
Below is a longer film I posted back in September when I got a longer view.
Looking for a Kingfisher over the bridge on Titchfield Haven harbour I was surprised to see a Grey Heron. No Kingfisher sadly but a good view of this big fella.
On the Beach not the post-apocalyptic novel written in 1957 by Nevil Shute but a group of Sanderling resting as it nears high tide.
I went to watch Sanderling’s on the shore but sadly people walking on the beach wandering along put them up just as I got out of the van. I was just in time to see a flock of about 30 flying off down the coast.
I did spot a little brown bird – a LBB in bird watcher speak. In the seaweed catching sand hoppers was a Meadow Pippit.
Black-headed gulls. (Winter non-breeding colours.)
Alone Common Gull hanging around with the Black-headed gulls.
A splash of Sanderlings on the Beach.
A Teal having a wash and brush up.
Watching a young rat around Titchfield harbour he decided to drop down the harbour wall to get into a hole. He misjudged it and ended up in the harbour. No problem. Rats can swim or wade in the water for up to three days without drowning!
I am slipping !!!!!
It was further up than down!