July was my first full month back at work since having minor hand surgery. Not every month as a Countryside Ranger is eventful but the Harbour is still a lovely place to work. Unfortunately, the summer holiday season keeps us busy - with litter collection, dealing with holiday makers and the odd but of vandalism.
We had our final Friends Volunteer Task for the summer period over at Gutner Point Nature Reserve where we removed Ragwort and "Dock" for the Hampshire County Council Rangers. To say thank you to the volunteers for all their hard efforts, our Countryside Officer Judith organised a behind the scenes tour at Fishbourne Roman Palace followed by a delicious lunch.
So, it's another huge thank you from me to all our volunteers who supported my colleague, Georgie in my absence and did such amazing work in the last 6 months.
Our Ecologist, Pete Hughes, a wildlife volunteer, John Arnott and myself have been doing the annual surveys on the Seal population in Chichester Harbour and this is what we recorded: a total of 39 Harbour Seals (25 adults, 9 juveniles, 5 pups), 4 Grey Seals (3 adults, 1 juvenile). In Creek Rythe, there were 4 Harbour Seals (2 adults, 1 juvenile, 1 pup). The survey was carried out by our counterparts over in Langstone Harbour on the same dates so we can gain an overview picture of how well the Seal population is doing in both Harbours as they are connected.
Sadly, we lost most of the second round of bird nests on both the North and South Stakes Island during a spring high tide, with a strong onshore wind coinciding with the high tides. It is always difficult to watch and let nature take its course and not to intervene.
With permission from Chichester Harbour Trust, we planted a mini fruit orchard on one of their sites within the AONB and recently Georgie and myself revisited the site and were delighted results that the fruit tress are doing really well and even produced some fruit.
As per usual, we are still out cutting footpaths, so if you see an overgrown footpath around the Harbour , please call in and let us know as we want to keep the AONB looking good and accessible for everyone.
Enjoy the rest of summer.