Harbour CHIRP July 2015

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Welcome to the July edition of Harbour CHIRP, designed to share the work that the Environment Team is doing to protect and enhance the Chichester Harbour AONB.

This edition is packed with wildlife news and details of a new publication which highlights the benefits of protected landscapes to society.  We hope you enjoy this edition. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the articles or any of our work. info@conservancy.co.uk

New faces for Harbour Watch

Keen volunteers, Jan and Dave Jenkins will be keeping a watchful eye on the foreshore and footpaths around Prinsted and Nutbourne, as part of our Harbour Watch Scheme.

The Harbour is divided into 31 sections and we have lots of willing volunteers that take part in the scheme. We are extremely grateful for their help with the huge task we face.

The volunteers collect litter and provide monthly reports on the state of our footpaths and sea defences - valuable information that helps us to prioritise maintenance and repairs around the Harbour. Harbour Watch data is also included in our Annual Review.

We need an eager volunteer to help us with an area in Chidham. Volunteers usually spend a few hours each month collecting litter and carrying out monthly checks.

If you would like to help us to keep the Harbour safe and clean, click here to find out more and then contact me.

Judith Meagher, Countryside Officer
 Dyers Greenwood

Wildflowers in Bloom

You can see many wild flowers in bloom along the shoreline paths at this time of the year.

Did you know that Dyers' Greenweed was given its name because it was used in the dying industry? It gives a yellow dye that was mixed with blue from the woad plant to make the colour green!

So many of our native wild flowers were used for medicinal, practical and folklore purposes.  Why not come along to our wild flower walks on 12th July and 2nd August?

Click here to find out more about these walks and the wide range of activities we offer in the Harbour.

Judi Daley, Community Officer

 Bluebell Wood

Here for the Season...

I began working as the new Seasonal Ranger in February and I soon discovered that no two days are ever the same. I have already gained a greater knowledge of the AONB and its rich eco-system, thanks to the full time Rangers, Keith and Georgie.

Since starting, I have been privileged to see a secluded ancient woodland where native bluebells carpet the untouched ground. I have also witnessed over a dozen Harbour Seals on the south side of Thorney Island - on one occasion, two of them appeared to be mating, hopefully creating new life!

Sadly, Georgie and I had to deal with a dead porpoise which appeared to have been damaged by a boat propeller. On the positive side, it is nice to know that porpoises have come to visit us in the Harbour.

I am looking forward to watching the summer unfold here at Chichester Harbour AONB. That's all from me, but to find out more about what the Rangers get up to each month, please read the Rangers Diary.

Stephen Peters, Seasonal Ranger

 Boy looking at insects

Creepy Critters

June is the most popular time for school visits in the Harbour. Twenty eight schools and organisations visited us with their young pupils, so it's been a very busy time!

Invertebrate and creature hunts in the stream and meadow at Fishbourne and Dell Quay form an important part of our ‘Habitats' field trip. The children also enjoy the beautiful scenery on the walk between Fishbourne and Dell Quay.

Often when you ask the children, "What was your favourite part of the day?" they will answer "crabs!" - they enjoy seeing them, touching them or just being scared by them when they do their shoreline creature investigation on the mud by our Dell Quay classroom.

The photograph shows a young man from Meredith Infant School in Portsmouth, with a caterpillar in a bug pot. His highlight was ‘finding caterpillars and spiders in the meadow'

Click here if you'd like to learn more about bringing your class or group to Chichester Harbour to explore these beautiful habitats.

Jane Latawski, Education Officer

Harbour Seals

Photo: Deborah Creasy


Protect our Harbour Seals

Chichester Harbour Conservancy and the Wildlife Trusts have been monitoring seal populations in the Solent for a number of years.

Did you know that Chichester Harbour plays an important role for breeding and feeding locations for the only population of Harbour Seals in the Solent?

The appropriate behaviour of water users around our Harbour Seals is key to conserving and protecting them. If you come into contact with seals, please keep your distance (at least 100m), limit your observation time to 10 mins and if afloat, no more than two vessels at a time. Please follow the "Solent Seal Observation Code of Conduct" as this will allow you to enjoy Seals in the Harbour whilst protecting them at the same time.

Learn more about seals in Chichester Harbour.

James Parkin, Farming and Wildlife Officer
Little Terns
Photo: Chi Lui/Natural England


Safe Nesting Areas for Birds

We have been working with the RSPB to erect short sections of electric fencing on Ella Nore Spit and Pilsey Island to provide safe nesting areas for Little Terns - this species is under threat and no young have successfully fledged in the Harbour since 2002.

The shingle areas south of Nutbourne Marshes, known locally as Stakes Islands, are also very important nesting sites for Terns and Gulls. Please help by giving these areas a wide berth whilst out and about in the Harbour.

James Parkin, Farming and Wildlife Officer

House Martins

Photo: kenny sarmy

National House Martin Survey

House Martins spend their winters in Western Africa and their summers here where they construct mud nests under the eaves of our houses to rear their young.

In England, between 1966 and 2013, they are thought to have declined by a massive 69%. This year, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is asking volunteers to take part in a national survey in order to estimate their current population.

You can help with the conservation of these amazing birds by taking part in the BTO survey. Why not place an artificial House Martin nest in a suitable location on the outside of your home? Nests can be purchased online.

Please note that nesting birds are protected by the Wildife and Countryside Act 1981. Feel free to contact us if you need advice about birds which are nesting at your property.

James Parkin, Farming and Wildlife Officer


Big Butterfly Count

The Big Butterfly Count is a nationwide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world's biggest survey of butterflies. Over 44,000 people took part in 2014, counting almost 560,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK. Click here to see the 2014 results.

Join in with the Big Butterfly Count 2015 this summer, from 17th July - 9th August.

James Parkin, Farming and Wildlife Officer

 Report cover

So much more than the view...

‘So much more than the view...' is an exciting new publication from the National Association of AONBs (NAAONB) and National Parks England, which highlights the benefits of these special places to society.

Our countryside has some of the most beautiful and cherished landscapes in England. It is rightly regarded as a treasured natural resource and is internationally designated for its special qualities.

This new publication includes some interesting facts and figures about England's protected landscapes.

Did you know that less than £1 per person per year is spent on looking after England's treasured places, yet they generate more than £20 billion each year?

Did you know that over 85,500 businesses are located in protected areas (mainly small businesses and sole traders)? We are reliant on tourism, recreation, agriculture and other land-based activities, which help to maintain and enhance these environments.

Did you know that in 1964, Chichester Harbour became the 16th AONB to receive the designation? Over 50 years later, it continues to provide an inspiration to local people and visitors alike. England's coastal gem is a birdwatchers' paradise, and together, we can help to keep it that way for future generations to enjoy.

You can help us to raise awareness of the value of our protected landscapes by using #morethanview on Twitter.

Click here to read the new publication and find out more.

Richard Austin, AONB Manager

 Solar Heritage on the Planning Day

Building Relationships

Twenty five planners from Chichester District Council joined us to hear about key planning-related issues affecting Chichester Harbour AONB. This regular event, helps to maintain good working relationships with Council Planners.

Steve Lawrence, my fellow Planning Officer, gave an overview of the legislative background to the Conservancy's planning role, and the key law and policy regarding decisions affecting the AONB.  He gave examples of recent cases and the particular issues that had arisen, including safeguarding of employment premises within the AONB.

I followed on with a presentation about some of the other keyissues, including design and materials, and used photographs to show the impacts of buildings in the landscape.

James Parkin, our Farming and Wildlife Officer then explained the nature conservation designations within the Harbour, including the particular bird species and types of habitats these relate to.

We took the Planners on a trip along the Fishbourne Channel on Solar Heritage, for them to see some examples of recent developments visible from the water and to also get a feel for the special qualities of the AONB landscape.

We hope to organise an event for Havant Borough Council in the near future.

Linda Park, Planning Officer