Plenty of wildlife activity in harbour as autumn comes

OUT AND ABOUT The Common Lizard may be spotted in sunny spots around Chichester Harbour this September
OUT AND ABOUT The Common Lizard may be spotted in sunny spots around Chichester Harbour this September
Clipper Round the World Race crew member Simon Speirs who has died after being swept overboard during the round-the-world yacht race

Portsmouth legend Knox-Johnston leads tributes to sailor killed during Clipper race

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EXCELLENT numbers of wading birds such as black-tailed godwit, greenshank and curlew are now present in the harbour.

Many of these early arrivals will continue their migration further south, but increasingly some of these species, particularly greenshank, are staying to overwinter.

We are currently undertaking a study with Farlington Ringing Group to learn more about this behaviour, by using miniature trackers called geolocators.

The first of the returning Brent geese will arrive towards the end of the month, initially grazing on the sea grass beds within the harbour.

Common seal numbers have recently peaked at 26 animals seen hauled out within the harbour. This species is declining elsewhere in the country so it is good to see they are doing well here.

It is thought to have been another poor breeding year for bats. This is probably due to the cold spring which extended their hibernation period and reducing insect numbers post emergence.

This is one of the most active months for bats. When they are not busily feeding to build up fat reserves for a long winter of hibernation, they will also be attempting to attract mates.

The shorter days and cooler conditions as we go through September should make reptiles more visible as they spend time basking in open areas.

In the case of common lizards they will climb vegetation, tree stumps and even benches to get access to the sun’s warmth.

Baby grass snakes and slow worms have been spotted on a few sites.

Fruit is starting to develop on a number of trees and shrubs. Bramble is covered in juicy blackberries, but as with all wild food, only eat things you can identify.