Richard Austin - AONB Manager
Welcome to this month's edition of Harbour CHIRP. May is National Walking Month encouraging people to get out and about and to walk more.
Initiatives you may have heard of are Walk to Work Week, Walk to School Week which are all part of National Walking Month. A new initiative is #try20 which challenges people to walk for 20 mins a day. You can find more information here.
We have three lovely walks within the AONB during May:
- Harbour Creekies, a slow-paced walk at Sandy Point on Friday 6th May
- Harbour Hares, a faster-paced walk at Chidham on Saturday 21st May
- Walk for Families at Chichester Marina on Tuesday 31st May.
Why not join us for one of these or sign up to the #try20 campaign and walk for 20 mins a day.
National News - Landscape Photographer of the Year
With a total prize fund worth £20,000, a full colour book of best entries and a popular annual exhibition in Central London, Landscape Photographer of the Year celebrates all that is great about the British landscape and showcases the work of many talented photographers, inspiring visitors to experience the joys of British landscapes at first hand. Britain's heritage is celebrated by people around the world and entries are welcome from everyone, whether resident in Britain or simply visiting.
It would be amazing to see photographs of Chichester Harbour amongst the entries this year - or even as the winner!
Awards are presented to both the adult and young Landscape Photographer of the Year and there are four main categories that have both adult and youth sections, with additional prizes offered within each category.
Landscape Photographer of the Year was founded in 2006 by Charlie Waite, one of today's most respected landscape photographers. Click here for more information.
Local News - Sea defences discussed at local conference
Richard Austin - AONB Manager
Selsey Town Council hosted a one-day conference on the sea defences between Hayling Island and Shoreham last week. The event was chaired by Councillor Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council and a Member of Chichester Harbour Conservancy.
Around 100 people attended, with presentations from King's College in London, Selsey Town Council, the Manhood Peninsula Partnership, Pagham Parish Council, the East Solent Coastal Partnership and the National Flood Forum. It was a successful networking event with attendees showing a real appetite for partnership working and learning from best practice, particularly across the Sussex coastline.
In the afternoon, the delegates separated into discussion groups to focus on technical solutions, community resilience and potential funding opportunities. For Chichester Harbour, with 53 miles of shoreline, sea level rise is an ongoing concern as UKCP09 projections indicate a sea level rise of between 18cm and 26cm by 2050.
Further details on the conference can be found here.
Harbour Office to monitor House Martins for national survey
James Parkin - Farming & Wildlife Officer
We will be watching the House Martins that nest under the eaves at the Harbour Office in Itchenor more closely this year as we are taking part in a national survey to investigate the reasons for this bird's rapid decline.
Anyone with House Martins nesting on their house or office building can take part in the British Trust for Ornithology's House Martin nest study.
The birds feed mainly on flies and aphids and start arriving here from April onwards. They build their nests shortly after arrival and these can be seen on the outside of buildings, usually under window ledges or eaves. The nests are constructed from regurgitated mud which they collect from the shoreline but sometimes they need a little help with their building activities. Last year, we had several pairs nesting under the eaves at the Harbour Office. Some of them used our man-made nests, which can be purchased online and then installed in suitable locations.
It can be hard to tell the difference between House Martins and Swallows - House Martins have a blue back and wings, a characteristic white rump and a short forked tail, whereas Swallows have a dark, glossy-blue back, red throat and long tail streamers. They will also be arriving in spring but they tend to make their nests on the inside of outbuildlings.
Second duck race - bigger and better
Judi Darley - Communities Officer
A rare day of bright, sunny weather blessed our second annual Duck Race in Fishbourne, last month. Eager families met at Fishbourne Roman Palace and prepared their ducks before taking them via the Palace's special 'right of way' to Fishbourne Meadows. They were accompanied by a large, suspiciously human duck!
The race was a closely run event, with prizes for the first nine ducks and for the last one too. Participants said it was 'fun to decorate ducks' and the event was led by a 'very friendly, helpful, informative team'.
If you can think of other suitable sites within the AONB for our duck race next year, do let us know!
Sarah is settling in to her new role at the Education Centre
Jane Latawski - Education Officer
It's been a busy start to Sarah Chatfield's new role, but she's thoroughly enjoyed being in the office, helping me with the day-to-day running of the Education Centre. The summer term is incredibly hectic with schools booked in to visit the Harbour nearly every day, often with two schools at different sites and more schools are still phoning to try to arrange trips! Great for our business and promoting the beauty of the Harbour. She's experienced in outdoor education, already working as a Conservancy team teacher and she's been writing programmes in preparation for forthcoming visits.
I am very grateful for her help as her in-depth knowledge of what makes a successful, safe and fun visit to Chichester Harbour means she has made an immediate, positive impact in supporting me to organise school visits.
During April, we delivered Outreach sessions to the local Harbour schools which have been extremely well received. We also attended the South Downs National Park Conference which provided a valuable opportunity to market our services to several new schools.
Click here to find out more about what we offer.
Working with Thorney Island Conservation Committee
Nicky Horter - Countryside Officer
We have a great working relationship with Ministry of Defence staff at Baker Barracks on Thorney Island and we hold a number of conservation work parties on the island each year.
We are part of the Thorney Island Conservation Committee (TICC), which meets twice a year to talk about conservation projects in this special area. We work closely with a number of groups including the RSPB, Thorney Island Shoot and the Chichester District Archaeology Society, to preserve the island's unique environment. Being a military site, it is largely undeveloped and so it is rich in WWII history and thriving with wildlife.
Our volunteers are very active and help with wildlife surveys, beach cleans and woodland management, and they also look after some of the WWII pillboxes and gun emplacements.
Thorney Island is a fascinating and unique place to work, and it's great to see it being well cared-for by this active partnership group.
No access along the Cobnor foreshore at high tide
Keith Rathbone - Countryside Ranger
I've been busy installing signs along the Cobnor Foreshore, near the bird hide, to warn walkers that there is no access along part of the shoreline at high tide and there is no alternative route. The signs include a map and a QR code, which links to the latest tide tables, so it is easy to check when the next high tide is due.
Cobnor is a great place to see some of the wonderful Harbour wildlife and we also have a lovely, new interpretation board inside the bird hide which will help you to identify some of the species there.
I hope you have seen the boards at Bosham too, as the foreshore floods there at high tide. Here, there is an alternative route along Lower Hone Lane, which is shown on the map.
Hopefully, the new boards make life easier for visitors when they are out and about.
Do you know what this is?
Can you guess what this is and where it was found?
The answer will be revealed in the June edition of Harbour CHIRP.