There is still a couple of months to go, but, Titchwell is on course for it's best breeding season in 10 years! This is a direct result of the LIFE on the Edge Freshwater Habitats Project that we were delivering during the autumn of 2021. 

Reedbed

We are delighted to report that in the reedbed we appear to have a nesting bittern! These secretive birds can be a challenge to survey but in recent weeks we are seeing lots of bittern activity showing the signs that there is a nest. The last time we had a confirmed nest was in 2013. 

This week we recorded the first fledged marsh harrier of 2022 and over the next few weeks we expect to see several more fledge their nest. Also this week we are starting to see more ducklings across the reserve including those from shelduck, mallard, gadwall and pochard and soon we should start to see tufted duck and shoveler ducklings. 

Bearded tits are a visitor favourite and this week we have been watching several parties of young bearded tits moving amongst the reedbed, especially along the west bank path. 

Juvenile marsh harrier, Les Bunyan

Freshmarsh

If you have visited recently you can't help but notice the sheer number of avocets and their young, and it has been a record breaker, with a peak of 97 nesting pairs. This has smashed our previous record of 80 nesting pairs in 2011. Avocets are known for their aggression, especially when they have young so anything from a linnet to a marsh harrier is being picked on as they try to land or fly over the freshmarsh.

More good news on the freshmarsh is that we have four pairs of common tern with the one pair busy feeding two chicks. Common terns bred for the first time in 2012 with the last successful breeding pair in 2013 and no birds breeding for the past 6 years.

Oystercatchers have a long history with Titchwell nesting on the beach and saltmarsh but it wasn't until 2016 when they first attempted to nest on the freshmarsh. This year we have 4 pairs on the freshmarsh with two of them hatching this week. It has been a long time since this has happened so we hope they will be successful.

Avocet, Phill Gwilliam

Beach

Our final important habitat at Titchwell is the beach, home to nesting ringed plovers and oystercatchers. 

This week the first ringed plover nest hatched so there are now 3 ringed plover chicks running all over the beach. There are also several pairs of oystercatchers nesting on the beach within our rope cordons. Therefore if you are visiting us and going onto the beach, we ask that you

- keep dogs on leads

- keep your distance from the cordons. Approaching the cordons disturbs the birds of their nests which can lead to nest failure. 

Ringed plover chick, Les Bunyan (taken with a long lens to reduce disturbance)

There is still long agonising wait to see just how many chicks will fledge across the reserve but we are cautiously optimistic 

The project LIFE on the edge: improving the condition and long-term resilience of key coastal SPAs in S, E and N England (LIFE19 NAT/UK/000964) is supported by the LIFE Programme of the European Union in partnership with the RSPB and the National Trust

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