Titchfield Haven is an NNR situated at the mouth of the River Meon which discharges into the Solent at Hill Head, the site is managed by Hampshire County Council.
It holds one of the only two breeding populations of Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta in Hampshire. Last years breeding attempts at the Haven though at first hopeful with 11 chicks hatched - disappointingly failed after they all became prey to the local pale phase buzzard Buteo buteo prior to any fledging. The photo below is of the last Haven avocet chick of 2008 just two days before it was lost.
Avocet chick Titchfield Haven 5th June 2008 (own library)
This year the Haven has had more success, following an active management plan by which the local buzzard is fed with carrion from a feeding platform further up the reserve and away from the scrapes. The buzzard was fed from the start of the breeding season and still continues to be fed whilst the avocets remain on site. Currently two pairs of avocets have successfully raised six young to date, who on todays evidence, appear strong enough to be out of the parents sight and feeding alone across the scrapes.
The adult birds are one of the most charismatic waders breeding in the UK, and it is no wonder that they continue to remain the icon of the RSPB.
Evidence of more recent breeding activity was also apparent with these three young moorhen Fulica atra chicks making demands on a parent that has probably already raised a brood or two this year.
Another member of the rail family, Rallidae, was showing well for a while in contrast to its usual skulking reputation amongst the reeds and flora of the waters edge. The water rail Rallus aquaticus only usually shows it presence by its call a squealing wail that is reminiscent of a stuck pig. However, at the Haven these birds always seem to give particularly good value.
These are the first videos I have attempted shooting using a combination of both digital camera and telescope - on a tripod which is getting older and stickier more quickly than I am - so please accept my apologies for the quality of footage.