CNHS Legacy Projects 2021

We have previously detailed the support for local Natural History projects, made possible by the Legacies kindly donated by two anonymous donors.  There were still some available funds so the CNHS committee met on Zoom in March 2021 to allocate further legacy funds towards project ideas submitted by members.

Further work on Northwood Pond – David Hart
As I am sure members will remember that one of our earliest Legacy Projects was a donation of £2000 to the National Trust Slindon Estate for the creation of a pond within the area known as ‘The Rise of Northwood’.  Sadly the original design of the pond had several faults and failed to retain water.   The remedy was to dig out the clay, line the pond with sand and install on top of the sand a butyl liner at the cost of £800.   The Committee decided to donate this amount of money as part of our commitment to the Rise of Northwood.
Unfortunately it has now been decided that the pond will be fenced for the protection of wild-life, mainly from uncontrolled dogs.  Hopefully the work will commence the week beginning 24 th May 2021.   We will keep members informed.

Owl box for Maybush Copse –
David Hart
Another of the many other interesting project proposals was put to the committee by Denise Bowerman asking if we would consider supporting a delightful small nature reserve called Maybush Copse at Chidham.
I spent an interesting two hours being shown around the Reserve by Stephen Johnson, a committee member of the Friends of Maybush Copse.   He explained that many years ago the Reserve was a clay pit, producing bricks for the building industry, then a proposed building site, but rescued in the nick of time by a few like-minded folks in Chidham to become a Nature Reserve.
The Friends of Maybush Copse work closely with Peter Hughes of the Chichester Harbour Conservancy and jointly we decided that a tawny owl box would be a suitable addition.   It was readily agreed by the committee to donate £150 to cover the cost of an Eco-friendly tawny owl box (made of recycled plastic and said to last up to 20 years).
Chidham is a beautiful area and I highly recommend a visit to Maybush Copse.

Chichester Wildlife Meadows
Sarah Hall
Proposal for a wildflower meadow in Chichester, probably Summersdale area. This is a joint project, working with Sarah Hughes, Community Wildlife Officer for Chichester District Council. Sarah Hughes is liaising with Hyde Martlet who own the best proposed meadow site by Winterbourne Rd and Summersdale Rd.  CNHS would donate funds to purchase plug plants of various wildflower species to create a haven for insects and other wildlife. We will seek the involvement of the local residents’

Refurbishment of Beaky’s Pond
, Dell Quay John Kelsall
We are contributing to the Chichester Harbour Conservancy’s refurbishment of Beaky’s Pond. The work involves some dredging and installation of a dipping platform.
  The pond is situated north of Dell Quay just past the yacht yard. The Conservancy use it as an Educational resource and want to extend the use for disabled access and use.

Moth Trap – Christian Hance

Insects are declining at an alarming rate, e.g. a study based on German Nature Reserves suggested a 75% decrease over 27 years (Hallmann et al 2017). The Society has decided to increase our study of one order of this class of UK fauna and has purchased a moth trap so that members can study these fascinating nocturnal insects.
We have purchased a Skinner moth trap and accessories. To assist members in identifying the many different species we propose to run a series of events during the summer. We would like members to volunteer to have the trap set up overnight in their garden and to host other members the following morning for an identification session.  Tony Burnand, one of the Society’s moth experts, has kindly agreed to lead these sessions enabling many members to increase their knowledge.
Please contact Christian Hance if you wish to host a moth evening/morning this summer.

A new tool for analysis and interpretation of the results from ChiNats Bat Recording Project.
The Society has agreed to subscribe to the new ‘Acoustic Pipeline’ system offered by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) for analysing and storing our bat recordings. The system provides the infrastructure to allow audio recordings (wav files) of bats and other creatures to be uploaded to a secure server maintained by the BTO, to be processed to find, identify and verify biological sounds, and to return results back to the Society. The cost will be about £100 per year plus a one-off cost of £300 to upload the existing records.
At the start of the ChiNats project we were fortunate to be given free access to software developed by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to analyse the bat calls recorded and identify the bats. However, this is only a semi-automated process. The data from each session must be uploaded onto Ken and Linda Smith’s computer and fed into the BTO classifier programme. Each file recorded is analysed and given a suggested identification with a confidence threshold, this takes a couple of hours of computer time. In a typical night with say 1000 recordings each result must be checked manually against the threshold and accepted or rejected to compile the list of bats present through the night. This takes us another hour or two for each set of recordings.
There is also a significant issue of safe storage of the data. At present we have data for three years totalling 1800 Gigabytes stored on the ChiNats freestanding hard drive and backed up on Ken and Linda’s own free standing hard drive. (2020: 550 Gigabytes of data stored in 430,972 files; 2019: 521 GB in 384,907 files and 2018: 602GB in 540277 files).
The other advantage is that the results are shared with the National Bat Recording Scheme and shared with the Sussex Biological Records Centre. This data sharing was not possible previously.
Ken and Linda have been testing the new Acoustic Pipeline, the recordings from the bat detector can be uploaded directly into the BTO system and the results are returned within a few hours in an easily accessible form.


Chichester, West Sussex

© Copyright 2024 Chichester Natural History SocietyWeb Design By Toolkit Websites