It has been a busy year that has seen the Friends of Weston Shore taking part in new areas of activity to advance our goals.
In February the group helped Southampton City Council in planting a number of sea buckthorns on the shore near Weston Yacht Club to help with sea defences. We were very pleased to take part as this was a bit different for us.
On a rather cold weekend in May we undertook a wildlife survey on Weston Shore. We were ably guided by Phil Budd from the Southampton Natural History Society and we found a number of interesting specimens including the Manila Clam, Irish Moss and Sea Beet. The group greatly values Phil’s time and effort in helping us learn more about the wildlife to be found on the shore. We have commissioned Phil to produce a report on the wildlife to be found on the shore and have been excited about receiving this.
May 2015 was particularly busy as we then had two litter picks on the shore in quick succession. The larger was in conjunction with the Marine Conservation Society and Marks & Spencer plc and lots of people were there to help take part. An interesting observation was that the beach further up towards Netley seemed more litter strewn than that the end towards Woolston.
We had our own litter pick on the shore later in the month on a beautiful day and were joined by a local community group of eager volunteers. The clean ups are having a positive effect on the shore especially alongside Richard’s regular litter picking.
The group was represented at the Southampton Bio-Blitz that took place at the University of Southampton. It was useful being there to show our support, to spread the word about the group and to network with other local groups including Sholing Valleys Study Centre and the Friends of Chessel Bay.
Richard and I went along for our annual walk along the shore in late June and as usual we seemed to time this to coincide with the rowing club’s annual regatta. During the walk we met a man who was a frequent visitor to the shore taking photos of the wildlife to be found there. He had told us of the time he had seen a deer by the pitch and putt course and on another occasion, a buzzard flying overhead.
After some preparations we then held our annual Big Beach Clean Up on Saturday 8th August on a blazingly sunny Saturday. It was an enjoyable day and the pirate theme added a touch of fun for both us and our wonderful volunteers, especially the children. This was heightened even further when Chris Smith, our deputy vice-chair, donned his fabulous parrot costume! Another special guest was award-winning sport volunteer John Sennett who was keen to try litter picking as a new type of volunteering.
Although the clean up had been a great day with lots of litter cleared up, attendance was lower than previous years and we wondered if this was because it was on a Saturday in contrast to our normal day of Sunday. Another question for the group was whether we continue to use a pirate theme for the event and whether next year we also attempt to attract more families with children to the litter pick.
In October we were joined by new friends from Southampton Solent University in a beach clean up on a beautiful autumn day at the shore. They were very enthusiastic and we managed to clear up a large amount of rubbish.
In November, our autumn litter pick was cancelled due to wet weather, although this did n’t hold Richard back from clearing up a number of bags of rubbish from the Conkerfield, for which we are very grateful.
Overall the year has been a busy one and it has been exciting seeing our aim of learning more about the wildlife on the shore develop. I hope this is something that continues to grow as we move into 2016!
Friends of Weston Shore
19th December 2015