‘The sight of these birds in the winter sun is amazing’

ENVIRONMENT Ali Beckett enjoys watching the birds in Chichester Harbour
ENVIRONMENT Ali Beckett enjoys watching the birds in Chichester Harbour
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IN our workshop, Sharky is just putting the finishing touches to Ems.

This open boat is used by our Harbour Hand, Sid, who is based at Emsworth.

Out in all weathers and used for an endless variety of tasks, she was in quite a battered state when brought in a couple of months ago. Now the paintwork is gleaming, smart blue ropes lay coiled on her topsides and finally her name has been added with a flourish.

As always our harbour birds have flocked here for the winter season.

To them it is actually like a summer holiday as they escape the cold weather of the Arctic and Siberia where many of them breed during the summer months.

This year we are seeing high numbers of teal and as is usual flocks of thousands of dunlin.

Flying together, these tiny brown birds make a dramatic sight as they wheel around the skies, their light underbellies flashing in the winter sun.

Over the winter months we organise a number of bird watching events.

These are suitable for all birdwatchers, whether experienced or as a first step towards a new hobby.

See our website for details.

Looking back over last year, we can see that so much of our work has been helped by the generous amounts of time people give as volunteers – whether it is litter picking, delivering leaflets, helping with school groups, or maintaining footpaths.

For those that regularly attend the weekly work parties we had a special end of year session in the ancient woodland at Salterns Copse. After a couple of hours of coppicing, we got the bonfire going, warmed up the mulled wine and relaxed with a mince pie or two.