The rain had been replaced by sunshine when I arrived, and I made my way to the Meon Hide. As I opened the window of the hide I was greeted with the relentlous calls of the Black-headed Gulls. One sat on a post in the water and just called at everything.
I stayed here awhile watching the antics of the gulls, then set of around the path to the west. A Cetti's Warbler sang from the bushes, and a Male Reed Bunting was singing from a bush in the middle of the reeds.
At the next hide I was able to get better views of the Mediterranean Gulls. I counted 25 birds on the islands, they are lovely looking gulls with jet black hood and silvery white wings.
On one of the far islands I found a pink Black-headed Gull, I am not sure how it would have obtained this colouring, maybe from eating shellfish, the colouring was consistent, and not patchy though. It didn't seem to care, and was very aggressive to the other gulls.
There were a few teal swimming close the edge of the pool, and as usual I couldn't resist a picture of one of my favourite birds
The reason to visit Titchfield was to meet up with Ian who has been following my Four Marks blog since last March. He joined me in the hide, and I thoroughly enjoyed his company all afternoon.
From the Meon hide I had seen the Black-tailed Godwits, and from this hide they were closer and roosting on the bank. Some of the birds are beginning to get their brick red breeding plumage.
With the tide rising the islands were providing a roost site for the Oystercatchers, and in amongst them were 12 Bar-tailed Godwits, but these were still in winterplumage, a few Dunlin flew past, but once again the dominant birds were the noisy Black-headed Gulls.
We left the hide and walked further around the west side. From the next hide an Avocet came close, and the water provided some nice reflections as it fed in the characteristic way sweeeping the head and bill from side to side.
As well as the Avocet a few Lapwing were close to the hide.
A Marsh Harrier was seen briefly over the reed bed, but the best chance of seeing them was from the east side so we made our way around the reserve.
The harrier did appear several times, and flew above the reeds and settled once on the ground, only to be flushed away buy a group of Canada Geese. The birds were very distant from the hide, but the Wigeon and Teal seemed to be quite flighty, and every so often they would take to the air, with no evidence of a threat. The wigeon though do look spectacular as they fly together.
We sat talking and in between watching the harrier, Ian picked up another brown bird over the reeds a long way off in the distance, closer inspection revealed this to be a Bittern. It flew over the reeds for quite a distance before dropping out of sight into the reed bed.
The clouds were darkening, and it looked like the rain was about to return, it was also very cold, so we set off back to the centre, and called it a day.