Weston Shore – Recent Discoveries


from ecologist Philip Budd

Since the completion of my much-acclaimed Wildlife Survey of Weston Shore 2015 Report (published December 2015) there have been a few new discoveries on the shore. Two new plants were added to the list for the shore on 17th June 2016, these were Marsh Woundwort Stachys palustris and Annual Beard-grass Polypogon monspeliensis, both at the eastern end of the shore. The Annual Beard-grass often occurs as a casual by walls and on bare ground in urban areas, but it is also a scarce coastal grassland and dry saltmarsh native and listed in the Hampshire Rare Plant Register (Rand & Mundell, 2011). It was found in this latter habitat at Weston Shore. Another species in the Rare Plant Register, Slender Hare’s-ear, continues to thrive at its site near the children’s playground on the shore. Another important discovery was of 30 spikes of Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera, reported to me in June 2016. I have not described the location as it would be disastrous if these flowers were ever to be picked because orchids invest a lot more energy in flower production than other plants do. There is also a single Bee Orchid coming up along Jurd’s Lake Way.

A new leaf beetle to the shore, Chrysolina banksii (nothing to do with the famous street artist of similar name) was discovered at the eastern end of the shore in August 2016 and a Stonechat was a welcome sighting in scrub in the rolling mills area in January 2017. Also at the western end of the shore on the low, crumbling cliffs near the sailing club a colony of many thousands of Yellow-legged Mining Bee Andrena flavipes was discovered in April 2017 along with much smaller numbers of their parasite homeless bee Nomada fucata. This colony is extensive and continues, intermittently, all the way NW along the coast to the Centenary Quay area at Woolston. Other Andrena bee species could also be present in the same but these are often difficult species to identify. These bees have stings but they are too week to penetrate human skin.

Philip Budd.

 

Nomada fucata – left;  Andrena flavipes– right

Both reproduced with kind permission of Gary Palmer, New Milton.

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Award for Friends of Weston Shore!


The Friends of Weston Shore are delighted and honoured to have been awarded the Southampton City Care for the Environment Award at the St. George’s Day Community Awards held at Southampton City College on Sunday 23rd April 2017.

A number of wonderful and very worthy individuals and community organisations had been nominated. We were thrilled to have been nominated, let alone to win an award!

The awards were presented by the Mayor of Southampton, Cathie McEwing, and none other than Southampton legend, Lawrie McMenemy.

Special thanks to those that nominated us and for the honour of the award itself, which is deeply appreciated. We love Weston Shore, we love Southampton and we are looking forward to more fun helping looking after our beautiful beach!

For the report on the event at the Daily Echo, please go to : http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/15242122.PHOTOS__All_the_St_George__39_s_Day_award_winners_on_a_day_of_celebration/

The following are some photos from the day; for a closer look click the  photo.

Our next meeting – Thursday 20th April


The next meeting for Friends of Weston Shore is this Thursday, 20th April starting at 7pm. The venue as always is Woolston Community Centre, Church Road, Woolston, Southampton, SO19 9FU. There is free parking and everyone is welcome.

It looks like this year is going to be busy for our group and we are hoping to meet new volunteers who want to help us in our aim of protecting and enhancing the shore. The agenda for the meeting includes discussing our litter picks, the forthcoming Bioblitz and lots more.

Hope to see you there!

Spring Beach Clean with Surfers Against Sewage


A recent beautiful spring Sunday saw the Friends of Weston Shore join the Surfers Against Sewage for a beach clean on our shore in Southampton. It was a wonderfully sunny day and it was inspiring to see so many volunteers taking part in clearing up rubbish and litter from the beach.

Surfers Against Sewage were particularly interested in finding as many plastic bottles (for example for water or soft drinks) as possible, as part of a project with Ecover, a company interested in promoting sustainability.

The crew from SAS made their volunteers feel welcome and were a very enthusiastic bunch. In a couple of hours a large amount of litter had been cleared up and the event had been a great success. Thanks so much to Surfers Against Sewage in helping clean up Weston Shore!

Looking back on 2016 for the Friends of Weston Shore…


It’s been another busy year for the Friends of Weston Shore and we’ve been very active in our goal of keeping the shore as clean as we can.

Shortly after Christmas last year, the Southampton Natural History Society included Weston Shore in one of their nature walks in the area. This involved walking up the shore and through the Conker Field in Netley and it was a good opportunity to view the area as part of the larger picture. Thanks to Phil for inviting us.

Also thanks to Phil, the group produced a large number of copies of our Wildlife Survey of Weston Shore and we are now in the process of distributing this to the local universities, colleges and schools. Part of our plan is that the Wildlife Survey can be used as the basis for posters, leaflets and booklets about the wildlife to be found on our shore.

The first of this year’s litter picks took place in May of this year and we noticed that a large number of cuttlefish and carrots had been washed upon the shore. This clean up was just for the group and was followed in the middle of July by our traditional, annual Big Beach Clean Up.

In the Big Beach Clean Up, we continued our pirate theme from last year and it was a pleasure to see more families getting involved. We reverted to holding this on a Sunday as before and attendance was good, helped by a day of warm weather.

This was followed by a late summer beach clean at the end of August, on a day of blazing sunshine. This was with volunteers from the Environment Agency, who were there as part of their Corporate Responsibility Policy. They were very enthusiastic and it was one of the longest litter picks the group has helped with.

We had a further litter pick in the middle of October and this was part of the Southampton Sustainability Week programme of events. We were joined by friends from the Bitterne Litter Team and Surfers Against Sewage, along with the Student Union from Solent University. This included a number of journalism students, who prepared news reports on the day’s events. It had threatened to rain, but luckily this kept away for the duration of the beach clean.   One of the volunteers had come all the way from Crawley to take part!

Looking ahead, we have our Educational Packs to finalise and the group has been discussing the possibility of fund raising for further projects connected with Weston Shore.

We also hope to continue learning more about the wildlife to be found on the shore and developing a wider appreciation and understanding of this.

If you would like to find out more or get in touch, please contact us at : westonshore@gmail.com.

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Autumn Beach Clean


In the middle of October, the Friends of Weston Shore were delighted to hold another beach clean, this time with friends from the Bitterne Litter Team, the Student Union at Solent University and Surfers Against Sewage. The beach clean was part of Southampton’s Sustainability Week.

It had threatened to rain earlier in the day but thankfully the elements managed to stay kind to us while our volunteers bravely took part.  We were very impressed by the number of people who were keen to take part and how enthusiastic they were.

Our friends from Solent University included a number of journalism students and they produced this professional news report from the beach clean.

You can read their full report and look at their photos here:

http://www.solentjournalism.co.uk/southampton-locals-volunteer-for-weston-shore-beach-clean/

For more photos, have a look at our gallery below. Click on the photos for a closer look.

During the litter pick, our volunteers were able to clean up a large number of bags of rubbish. We noted that we had cleared up 115 plastic bottles, several glass bottles for perfume, a library book and a walking stick along with all the usual crisp packets, drink cans, cotton buds and wet wipes. Thanks to all those who took part!