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Wildlife

Museum beasts

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.

 

Photographs wanted for the Langstone Ark

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 ark@langstoneharbour.org.uk

Photo: Quiet Corners

Portsmouth & District Angling Society

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 Flickr Group

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.

www.flickr.com/groups/langstoneharbour

West Hayling Local Nature Reserve

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.

Nature Reserve

Harbour Seals

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.

Seals

Farlington Marshes Official Tour

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.

Marshes

Archives

Inside the Memorial

Due to possible damage due to the storm and the high winds it was possible to access the inside of the war memorial down on Southsea seafront the other day. I always though it was a solid structure but it turns out it is hollow with sunken foundations and access to the top. From the plaque inside, it looks like the ladder is for maintenance if there is a lightning strike (the top of the memorial has a huge copper globe).

No disrespect was meant by taking a very brief look inside, just architectural curiosity and finding out something not commonly known about a Southsea landmark.

Ladder Up

Plaque

Down

Outside

Guildhall After WWII

On 10th January 1941 during a heavy bombing attack on Portsmouth the Guildhall was hit by several incendiary bombs which heavily damaged the structure and the resulting fires quickly spread throughout the whole building, turning it in to just a shell. It took almost 15 years to rebuild the Guildhall in to what we have today, which was officially reopened by the Queen on the 8th June 1959. This photo from Stan Webb from a collection of photos collected by Portsmouth College shows how totally destroyed the building was, leaving just some of the frontage and most of the tower.

Guildhall

Someone Invent A Time Machine

The photography exhibit The Birth of British Rock at the Museum is now in it’s last week so be sure to make it down before it finishes on June 6th. Looking through the Pompey Pop Pix Flickr, which contains loads of local photos, tickets and posters, I came across this poster for what must have been on of the best line-ups the Guildhall has ever had.

Portsmouth at Night

Claire Sambrook from the http://www.flickr.com/groups/portsmouth_creative_movement/ sent me a link to a Flickr group called Portsmouth at Night, and let me say this, their photos are amazing. Lots of playing with lights, angles and exposures make for some fantastic photography.

Check out all the PAN photography on their Flickr.

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pan

Southsea Ramblers Association – Watership Down

We burst the bubble again last weekend for a pretty epic ramble, or should I say hike. Taking the advice of the Guardian Newspaper we embarked on a 6 hour walk across the North Wessex Downs. Although the walk is a good 45 minute drive away it’s well worth the journey and the reward at the end is one of the finest pubs I’ve ever eaten at, the Roayl Oak. Check out my Flickr for the full set.

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