I was keen to find a place where I could visit regularly to practice field sketching and I decided to buy a season ticket at Titchfield Haven so that I could regularly visit this excellent reserve to sketch from the hides. I would only need to visit 10 times to pay for the pass and I expected to do that in the first 3 months.
My first visit was early in the breeding season and the cacophony of noise coming from the breeding Black-headed Gulls, Common Terns and Avocets was amazing and it actually got significantly louder on occasions when the marauding Lesser Black-backed Gulls harassed the gull and tern flocks looking to pick up an unprotected chick.
One of the highlights at Titchfield is the breeding population of Avocets. They are striking birds and excellent parents and probably the most aggressive birds on the reserve when it comes to chasing off unwelcome visitors like the large gulls.
At this time of the year the Avocet chicks are still small enough to shelter under the parent birds during the rain so that you can just see their legs dangling below mum’s breast feathers in the top right painting.