I took time out today to visit Portsmouth City Museum and in particular the Birds, Beast and Bugs exhibition. I have a great interest in the craft of taxidermy, perhaps a bit more of an unusual craft than knitting but amazing nonetheless.
Most of the exhibition was collected by Henry Guermonprez in the 19th Century and lots the animals and jars have beautiful little hand written notes by Henry. There are also sweet intricate paintings and drawings by him as well as activities for children. I rather enjoyed the jars containing snakes, octopus and mice. More photos here.
Are you interested in taking photographs of local wildlife? If so, the Langstone Harbour Board would like to hear from you. The Board’s Environment Officer Louise MacCallum is launching a project called the “Langstone Ark” which aims to create a collection of digital images of all the species of wildlife, big and small, that can be found in and around the harbour to build into a website. Anyone with an interest in Langstone Harbour is being encouraged to contribute photographs of wildlife, from local yachtsmen, commercial fishermen to local residents.
Once a photograph of a particular species has been selected, a web page will be created including some information about the species such as its feeding habits and behaviour. The name of the contributor and where the image was taken will also be included. The Langstone Harbour Board hopes that the website will build into an engaging environmental resource which the harbour users themselves have helped to create.
Langstone Harbour is internationally renowned for its wildlife, providing nursery, feeding and overwintering grounds for a myriad of species. A number of internationally recognised laws are in place to protect the harbour’s habitats and associated wildlife, including Langstone Harbour being a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
You don’t need an expensive camera, or a qualification in wildlife photography to take part in the Langstone Ark Project – just the ability to take an interesting picture of one of the harbour’s wild residents and e-mail it to the Environment Officer. And remember, as the project aims to collect images of all the harbour’s residents, a photograph of a Gull or some Gorse will be just as welcome as a photograph of an Osprey or an Orchid.
The Langstone Ark website will launch online sometime in 2011, but harbour users are encouraged to start taking and sending photographs of wildlife now in order to catch some of the harbour’s 2010 winter visitors.
If you would like more information on the Langstone Ark project, or the wildlife and habitats that can be found in Langstone Harbour, please visit the Langstone Harbour Board website at www.langstoneharbour.org.uk. You can contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Quiet Corners
For those keen anglers amongst you the time has come to dig out your tackle box for the freshwater season. Portsmouth & District Angling Association have been operating since 1948 and have control over 13 different sites in and around the Portsmouth area. As well as having an Environment Agency Rod License you can pay an annual membership fee to the P&DAS to fish at one of their rivers, lakes or ponds. The membership fee is worth every penny as it all goes back into protecting the environment and the wildlife at each fishing spot, making it more enjoyable for everyone concerned.
If fishing is something that interests you but you’re not quite experienced to start paying membership fees etc., don’t forget we are situated on one of the prime bits of coastline and fishing in the Solent is absolutely free either from the beach or by boat.
Langstone Harbour is one of my favourite places, in contrast to Portsmouth’s busy main harbour Langstone Harbour is quiet, heavily effected by it’s strong tides and also a haven for wildlife. I looked to see if there was a Flickr group dedicated to the harbour and there wasn’t one, so I decided to create one.
If you have any photos from Langstone Harbour please join the group and add them so we can collectively create a pool of photos that show how special Langstone Harbour is.
On Saturday morning we passed through the West Hayling Local Nature Reserve (in Langstone Harbour) whilst on a bike ride along the Hayling Billy coastal path. In recent years the area has been heavily re-landscaped from the old rubbish tip back in to oysterbeds (as it was from Roman times right up to the first world war). This redevelopment was undertaken to provide a safe and secure habitat for wildlife. The reserve is a haven for sea birds at all times of the year and is also home to Little Terns, one of Britain’s rarest breeding birds.
The nature reserve can be easily accessed and enjoyed by bike using the Billy coastal path (like we did) but there is also car parking available if necessary and the whole area is great for walks with great views over the harbour, well worth a visit as it is only minutes from Portsmouth. Click here for more information and a full history of the reserve.
Langstone Harbour and its harbour seal population was profiled on Sunday’s Countryfile, it is available to watch online via the BBC iPlayer and the segment starts at 45:40. A really interesting watch concerning their movements around both Langstone Harbour, Chichester harbour and the Solent, their population and how they are tracked (mobile phone texts, believe it or not).
Never know, might see some on the Farlington Marsh walk on Sunday.
Farlington Marshes are located at the top of Langstone Harbour and are a wildlife reserve helping to protect the habitat of birds, insects and plants. On SUNDAY (21st) at 10am there will be an official tour of the marshes consisting of a 2.5 mile guided walk, a great way to learn about the wildlife of both the marshes and the harbour (seals!) and the management of the reserve. There is no need to book, just turn up on the day at the car park off the Eastern Road roundabout with the M27. Binoculars will be available to borrow for the walk. The walk is free but a donation of £1.50 towards the upkeep of the reserve is suggested.
For more information contact Jamie Marsh on 01489 774429 or check here.
EDIT: Oops, I got the date right but the day wrong, it is the 21st, which is the Sunday.