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.
Nomada fucata – left; Andrena flavipes– right
Both reproduced with kind permission of Gary Palmer, New Milton.
During our recent litter pick on Weston Shore, Mary and Ian from the Friends group found a beautiful shell, shown below.
Variegated Scallop (Chlamys varia)
This is a Variegated Scallop (Chlamys varia). The asymmetrical ‘ears’ on the shell are typical of this type. They can go grow up to 8cm in length and are found all over the UK in a wide range of depths from lower intertidal to as deep as 100m. Although they are a common species they favour rocky or gravelly areas.
The Friends of Weston Shore are keen to learn more about the wildlife to be found on our beautiful beach and we’re grateful to Ian and Mary for sharing this find with us. If you would like to join us on our journey to increase our knowledge about the natural riches of the area please get in touch!
Mary and Ian from Friends of Weston Shore
The Friends of Weston Shore took part in an initial field study of the wildlife on the shore last year and we are looking forward to learning more about this in 2015.
We had help from Phil Budd of the Southampton Natural History Society who discussed the outline of a wildlife survey and then lead us on a short walk along the shore to talk in more detail about what was to be found there.
Phil points out a specimen of Sow Thistle
In a very short time Phil highlighted for us what a rich habitat for plants and animals Weston Shore really is. We started off by looking at the different types of seaweed on the shore, including gutweed and bladderwrack, and how these provide a home for different types of insects. Moving slightly away from the shore, the grassy areas on the shore are host to a diversity of plants including sea beet and sea purslane. In turns these plants are home to lots of animals including coneheads and different types of grass hoppers.
There really is so much to learn and we found it very exciting to get a taste of the natural diversity to be found on the shore. We are looking forward to teaming up with Phil again this year to learn more about the ecology of Weston Shore and in the long term hope to conduct fuller surveys to draw up more detailed information about the natural riches to be found there.
studying Sea Purslane on Weston Shore
If you would like to get involved and find out more about the Friends of Weston Shore, please join us at our next meeting on Thursday 19th March at 7pm, at Woolston Community Centre, Church Road, Woolston, Southampton SO19 9FU. Everybody is welcome!
This year there’s another chance to tackle an environmental problem everyone can get a grip on – Litter! The Friends of Weston Shore are back in action on Sunday 3rd August 2014 between 10am to 1pm helping to clean up the shore and are looking for heroes to help join them.
Weston Shore is truly one of Southampton’s hidden gems. It is designated as an international Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the importance of the inter-tidal mudflats, which each year attract thousands of wading birds including egrets and curlews.
The Friends of Weston Shore would like to invite everyone with an interest in protecting one of Southampton’s most beautiful locations to come along to their annual “Big Beach Clean Up” and show their support for the area by helping to take part in a short litter pick along the seafront.
Litter pickers and bags will be provided but please wear sensible shoes and gloves if taking part. Come along at any time between 10am and 1pm. The starting point will be near the car park near to the former Pitch and Putt course on Weston Shore. For more information please contact the Friends of Weston Shore at email@example.com.
About the ‘Friends of Weston Shore’
The Friends of Weston Shore are a constituted Friends’ group comprised of local residents. Established for four years, the Friends’ group has made a dramatic impact on protecting and enhancing the SSSI habitat, improving the area for all to enjoy and encouraging the diverse wildlife to flourish.
The Friends of Weston Shore are supported by Groundwork Solent and Southampton City Council.
For more information about the Friends of Weston Shore or to join the group, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @WestonShore or check out their blog at www.westonshore.wordpress.com.
Setting up our base of operations at the start of the day.
Weston Shore was abuzz last Sunday with keen volunteers scouring the beach for litter. The Friends of Weston Shore held their regular clean up with the assistance of our friends at Southampton City Council and Groundwork South.
Virginia from Friends of Weston Shore
We were particularly excited as a group of 24 volunteers had travelled long distances to help with our event before going onto take part in a sailing adventure.
When we set up it was rather too windy to put up our usual gazebo so we had to brave the elements and run the event in what you might call an al fresco manner. Our volunteers soon turned up, hungry to get out on the shore and pick off the litter.
The event was a great success, one of our most well attended with around fifty volunteers taking part. This was the first event in which our volunteers were able to cover the whole of the area that the Friends of Weston Shore cover, from Netley Castle at one end down to Southampton Sailing Club at the other.
The shore looked pristine afterwards and we are so grateful for all the help we received and to all the volunteers who took part.
The HUGE amount of rubbish that was cleaned up!
One wonderful moment was wandering up to the stream near Weston Yacht Club. There is a growth of teasel on the banks of the stream and this was alive with bees, flitting between the flowers. To see them busy at their work was a thrilling end to a great day.
Teasel and Bees