Friday, 27 March 2015

A day by the Solent

We made a trip down to the Solent on Monday. For those of you who are not familiar with the Solent, it is the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the county of Hampshire on the mainland of England. The main reason for making this trip was because my DH wanted to see the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier which is currently anchored in the Solent off Stokes Bay (it is too large to enter Portsmouth Harbour). Unfortunately Monday turned out to be a gloomy overcast day so the photos are not the best but I think they give an impression of how enormous this ship is, there were over sixty aircraft on the flight deck.

After viewing the ship from Stokes Bay and then Lee-on-the-Solent we motored a bit further down the Solent to Titchfield Haven and parked up at Meon Shore to eat our picnic lunch. This is a favourite spot of ours and home to a national nature reserve which attracts lots of bird life as it contains various wetland habitats and is where the River Meon joins the Solent.

The weather had brightened by the time we had finished lunch so we decided to walk around part of the reserve passing the little marina on the way where there were mute swans swimming amongst the boats and also an Australian black swan plus lots of little turnstones waiting for the tide to go out so they could feed on the mud at the waters edge.

As we entered the reserve I was amazed to see this patch of cowslips, very early in the year for them and these huge fir cones, the photos don't really give you the impression of how big they were.

Once we had reached the first hide the noise of the black headed gulls hit us, there were hundreds of them, plus other birds including oyster catchers, avocets, shelduck, black tailed godwits, teal and lapwing. Oh for a long lens so I could get better photos!

A distant shot of an avocet (the symbol of the RSPB)

This black headed gull made me smile, standing on one leg and screaming at the other gulls to keep away.

A black tailed godwit searching for his food

I took these next shots as we were walking between hides, the bright yellow of the gorse looked lovely in the afternoon sunshine.

as did these backlit reeds 

and finally some pussy willow.

I love the coast and it was good to spend a day down by the Solent where there is always plenty to see and do.


  1. I've enjoyed this post very much as I grew up close to here, and know this area well. We lived quite close to the shore, and often wandered down to see oil tankers, cruise liners and all kinds of unusual vessels coming up Southampton Water. We've driven past the reserve a few times but haven't been in - your bird photos are great. Glad you had a lovely day :)
    Cathy x

  2. Wow - what a huge ship. See a lot of ships here on the Clyde too.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  3. Such lovely photos you shared with us today, Jan! I can't imagine the size of the ship, but seeing the tiny sailboat in front of the first photo gives me a good idea of just how mammoth it is! Looks like spring is definitely coming to your part of England :) Lucky you--we had more snow this morning when we woke up...

  4. Lovely photos yet again, how do you know so many bird's names and the flowers as well? I know Stokes Bay but not Titchfield Haven, so it was great to share in another journey with you. Thank you Chris xx