Tern-ing the tide

Bowdleflode News No. 27 – August 2020

Bowdleflode HQ is nestled in some of the best landscape on the South Coast of England.  Situated just outside the historic city of Chichester, we are able to enjoy both country and seaside living.  Home to one of the busiest recreational harbours in the UK, Chichester Harbour is the only area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK that is managed by a harbour authority.  The harbour covers more than 28 square miles along the South east coast – quite the challenge to look after the wildlife on shore and in the water! 

To ensure that all their activities don’t have an impact on the wildlife and environment, the Harbour Conservancy have an ecologist who looks after the flora and fauna, rangers clear the footpaths and various charities work alongside them to help plant trees and hedgerows.  With seven beaches, historically it has been the perfect nesting ground for terns and Chichester is destination for two species – the common tern and the little tern.  However, tern numbers in the UK have plummeted by up to a third in the last 20 years.  They nest on bare shingle or sand, but coastal erosion and sea levels have had an impact on their habitat, washing away more eggs and chicks than ever. Humans don’t help either – beaches are great for us, but birds abandon their nests when we get too close. 

Gulls on a shingle beach with the sea in the background

But Chichester Harbour are intervening with their ingenious plans to save the terns!  Their ecologist, Peter Hughes, had the brainwave of creating artificial rafting nests, made out of recycled materials and layers of shingle and sand to mimic their natural habitat.  In previous years there has been no breeding success from the whole of the harbour but the addition of these rafts has shown considerable results.  The first raft last year saw 9 pairs of common terns rear 20 young and this year with a second raft – 35 pairs!  It just goes to show that small interventions in the right place can have a significant impact.  The same hope hasn’t extended to the little terns as yet, but the Harbour is hopeful that with decoys that these rare sea birds will eventually follow suit.

Rare than a panda

A Suffolk Punch foal is the first in the UK to have been born using technology to determine its sex.  Born in Shropshire, the filly was conceived using sex-sorted sperm.  Fewer than 72 female Suffolk Punches remain in the UK and fewer than 300 in the world.  The technology makes it possible to select female foals to increase the breeding population more quickly, and could be used to save the breed.  The horses are important for equine history and heritage – this particular breed  were used to plough the fields during the war and the ones that put food on the table.  The birth of this foal marks a major step towards securing the future of the Suffolk horse and all other rare animal breeds.

Congratulations Funtington Primary School!

Funtington Primary School in West Sussex have just been awarded their ‘Artsmark Silver’ award for the school.  They are one of the only primary schools in the area to have been awarded an Artsmark – proving that their hard work in the arts has been recognised.  Bowdleflodes can’t be prouder that we have been able to contribute to this.  Earlier in the year before lockdown was enforced, 3 arts Award children visited Bowdle HQ gaining much insight from founder Neil and illustrator Lauren, and we are delighted to hear the pupils have passed their Arts Award Explore level.

Very many congratulations Funtington and we look forward to working with you again soon!

Bowdleflode of the Month

International Entry! Meet MARRY!


Created by Ardijan from Svitac Foundation, Bosnia  

This month Bowdleflodes is so excited to have received entries from Svitac, which is Bosnian for firefly.  Svitac is a foundation which provides a place for the youth of the city to share creative activities and contact with the outside world. They believe very strongly that by doing so, they can play an important part in reducing tensions linked to sectarian violence.  Svitac is also the foundational partner of charity Firefly International, established by late founder Ellie Maxwell.

Ardijan has designed this creature named ‘Marry’ and describes it as being a very large creature, preferring to be alone and very aggressive.  They survive on plants, algae and fruit and live near volcanoes.  We think Marry is a wonderful addition to the Bowdleflode Safari Park, thank you! 

NEW! Home Learning Resource

Calling all keen little ornithologists out there!  Bowdleflodes has created its very first Bowdleflode Bird Spotting Challenge UK.  Available as resource for free download using your existing login details or register if you haven’t already.  This is a great activity with the summer holidays now upon us that will engage the whole family!  Download the free worksheet and listen to the birdsong and calls to help you identify each bird.  How many UK birds can you spot and identify in a week?  Tally up your scores and find out if you’re a Garden Spotter or Expert Observer!  Don’t forget to share your results with us on social media!