Chidham and Hambrook Village - everyday

Chidham and Hambrook - Environment - Out and About

Tell us what you have seen when you have been out and about locally.

Thanks to Mike Bulpett for these photos March 2012
This is a weasel. What's the difference between a stoat and a weasel? The stoat is larger, and has a black tip to the tale. Weasels are rarer.

or to put it another way, 'One's w'easily recognised, the other is stoat'ally different! '

I know you put your peanuts out for the birds, they are not cheap, and occasionally the squirrels have a go at them, but it is difficult to begrudge this little chap, a field mouse I believe, for wanting to have a nibble. He needs to put on weight to get him through the winter.
Thanks to Bob Ashwood for the photo
Sept 2010 Giant Puffball - This is the season of mushrooms and other fungi.
ever seen a mushroom as big as this? even the dog was licking his  lips! It measured 8" across and 27" round. Alan found it underneath a damson tree. He took it to the Old House at Home and discovered it was mushroom all the way through, no holes, no hollow bits, all mushroom. Do you think it's a record? I would do the joke about there being not mush room inside, but it's already been done.
What a great find! I think it is a Giant Puffball, and good to eat I gather if fresh, as yours was. When they get old they start to go powdery.
Maybe not a record - I gather they can grow up to 12 inches in diameter!
July 2010
If you haven't seen one before, a Hummingbird Hawkmoth makes quite an impression. This beautiful and unusual insect sips nectar from flowers just like a hummingbird. Not easy to photograph, its wings beat too quickly for my camera.
It is a summer migrant from southern Europe.
June 2010.
A Blackbird nest in the clematis

Lynda Bailey writes: These are the second lot of blackbird chicks from a nest in our clematis, the parents are now working on a third batch! There was a bit of a trauma with one of the chicks when it left the nest and I had to look after it for a day. She hung around the garden, see picture, and now she can fly and she still comes back and talks to me, I recognise her voice and her pale spotty chest.
June 2010. The Mole. A wild mammal living locally you may not have seen. Moles are closely related to Shrews and hedgehogs. It is not often that you see one, because they spend most of their time underground in their tunnels. You are much more likely to see the earth they have excavated to make their tunnels in the form of molehills.
A mole's diet primarily consists of earthworms and other small invertebrates found in the soil. Because their saliva contains a toxin that can paralyze earthworms, moles are able to store their still living prey for later consumption. They construct special underground "larders" for just this purpose; researchers have discovered such larders with over a thousand earthworms in them.
Greenshanks and Avocets in Chichester Harbour

I understand that there is a project afoot to ring Greenshanks in Chichester Harbour.  I spotted one of then yesterday on Nutbourne marshes.  Apparently this one probably spends the summer in Scandinavia and decided to settle here in winter because of the milder winter climate.  Apparently this is quite rare (there being only 29 greenshanks in the harbour in the winter of 2001) as they normally fly further south. However, the numbers remaining in the Harbour may be increasing because of climate change.

Another picture from the Nutbourne nature reserve taken at the weekend two hours after high tide when our winter visitors (including the avocets) are busy feeding.


(Thanks to Philip MacDougall)
Dec 18th
Snow falls overnight
Almost a White Christmas
Snow partially obliterated this sign outside the Barleycorn advertising their Christmas Party - suitably festive, I thought.
Maybush Copse as seen from Cot lane
Dec 15th

I was lucky enough to get this picture of a jay in the front garden.

Yes, not much of a lawn, I know.
Dec 2009: Thanks to Mattias Chambers for these interesting photos taken down at Cobnor
Taken in May 2009
Taken in November 2009
July 2009: These lovely photos were taken here last week by Rachel Sturgon, aged 18.  She has just left Bishop Luffa and is about to study countryside management at Brinsbury College.  She is a keen photographer and environmentalist, and thinks Chidham and it's shoreline is wonderful!
June 12, 2009
Have you seen one of these strange looking caterpillars in the garden?
It's a Vapourer Moth caterpillar. There may well be one in your garden. More
April 7th 2009
It's always nice to see butterflies on a warm sunny day. Getting a photo is not always so easy. I did manage to get a picture of this Orange Tip butterfly when it briefly basked in the sunshine.
Only the males have the bright orange colouring on the wings. The orange colouring acts as a warning to birds that these butterflies taste bad. In fact their bodies contain large amounts of mustard oil, and once a bird has tasted this, it is unlikely to eat another orange tip.
The females have the same black spots, and black wing tips, but no orange patches and look very similar to small white butterflies.
More about Butterflies at
Thanks to Lynda Bailey for this photo of Long Tailed Tits on her bird feeder. Is that seven of them?
April 2nd 2009
Long tailed tits, aren't they sweet?
You may have read recently that the long tailed tit has been doing very well over the last few years and is now in the top ten birds seen in the garden.
Well this is the season when the male long tailed tit thinks about doing his bit for the RSPB.
Amongst other things, that means defending his territory from other male long tailed tits. Being very tiny birds, they have very tiny brains. More to the point, they don't seem to be able to distinguish between their own reflection and another competing male.Thus for the last few days our house and car, or rather the glass windows in our house and car have been under seemingly continuous and vicious attack. Pecking at the glass and defecating, on the car door and windowsill. No, not nice!
So I had a go at taking some photos.
One of us will have to go!
What worries me is that when they are in an attacking frenzy, you can get quite close before they notice you. Does this make them vulnerable to predators? Our cat got quite fascinated by the display - fortunately the cat was inside the conservatory, but still only feet away from the demented bird.
Monster in the compost heap 18 March 2009
I cut the grass yesterday, and tipped the cuttings on the compost heap. This morning I noticed that the grass pile was really quite warm so I grabbed a handful, and to my surprise found myself with a handful of slow worm.
He/she, I think it was probably a male, was a good size - about 45cm, 18inches long, and probably more surprised than I was.
Slow worms are quite harmless but are very good to have in the garden because they eat slugs and other pests. They look like snakes but they are a kind of lizard - they just don't have any legs. They are a protected species, so you must not kill them. Mind you, one of their main dangers is from cats, who don't know about protected species legislation, or if they do, don't take very much notice of it.
Slow worms are known for being exceptionally long lived - they can live up to thirty years in the wild.

Slow worms reproduce during April / May /June and typically have 6 - 12 young.

If caught they tend to play dead - lie still - which helped me when taking the photo.

When I had finished, he fairly rapidly disappeared back into the compost heap.

When caught by a predator they can also lose their tail, but it doesn't grow back.
Dec 4th

Jays are such beautiful birds, and you don't see them close too very often. This one landed on our front lawn and I hastily took this snap before a Magpie came and chased the Jay away.
Hallo there! Thought you might like to see a picture of a hedgehog fast asleep in the October sunshine. I knew there was a reason I took the camera with me whilst walking the dogs this morning. Along the track by the delapidated barn at the back of Trevors, there was the hedgehog in the middle of the track in the sunshine. The dogs completely ignored him and at first I thought it must be dead but on closer inspection it was in fact fast asleep and breathing contentedly.

Thanks to Lynda Bailey
Autumn - Garden spiders (right) become very apparent with their webs glistening with dew on a sunny morning.

Below: Not so usual in October - a dragonfly sunbathing for a moment or two. The two photographs are of the same insect, just from different angles.
I believe this is a female Migrant Hawker Dragonfly, but let me know if you know differently.

9pm Mon June 2nd 2008
Not a good photo I know, but the light was poor and the hand not very steady.
The road in the background is Main Road Chidham.
A roe deer pruning the roses? Well maybe not roses this time, but he/she is certainly enjoying one of our bushes.

Nicky Clark found this colourful frog in her strawberry patch - apparently more interested in the strawberries than the slugs to be found in the nearby vegetable patch.

Boats waiting in the lock to enter Port Solent have to wait untill the water levels have equalised. This doesn't apply to Swans who clearly want to be first out of the lock, even if this means swimming up hill. For a cygnet this may be a bit daunting, so its good to have your parents show you how.

Pictures from a bird table
Thanks to Philip Creechan
I have just spent a couple of wet days at Canute Cottages,and despite the rain,managed to get a few photos of birds at the feeders outside the cottages. I enjoy looking at your website, and thought I would share some of the pictures with you.
Thanks, Philip. Brilliant photos!

Great Spotted Woodpecker


Great Tit

21 May
Adorable Duckilings just hatched in a garden backing on to the Ham Brook on Priors Leaze Lane.

Thanks to Lorraine Banks

Hoopoe spotted in Chidham
(Thanks to Diana Beale)

someone else's photo
An exotic visitor has been spotted in South Chidham On Monday morning, May 14th, Tom Edom was driving up the Cobnor lane on his way to work when he saw a hoopoe fly in front of his car! 
As far as we know, this is the first time this wonderfully showy Mediterranean bird has been seen in this neck of the woods.  Does anyone know of any other sightings, recently or in the past?  It is a striking and unmistakeable bird - even the bird book says it can't be confused with any other species, with its pink Mohican crest and black and white barred wings and tail.  Keep a look out... Another bird from the Med is the pure white little egret, which started visiting. and then settling, in Chichester Harbour in the sixties, obviously encouraged by the gradual trend to warmer winters.  Now they are a common sight and have started to breed here.  Could the hoopoe be next?

Mistle Thrushes are sometimes called Storm Cocks because of their habit of singing from the tops of very tall trees in strong winds.
Birds are hardly ever easy to photograph - this Mistle Thrush was at the top of a tall conifer and so at extreme range for my camera.
I haven't seen all that many thrushes in recent years Fieldfares and Redwings are not so common in winter as they once were, and sadly the Song Thrush has also declined, so it was nice to see this Mistle Thrush singing his heart out.

more about the Mistle Thrush

Where are they going?

Thanks to Philip MacDougall for these evocative and atmospheric landscapes

Did you know we have three sorts of Shrew in Chidham and Hambrook?
Common Shrews, Pygmy Shrews and Water Shrews.
You will be lucky if you see a Water Shrew - they are not so common. I took the photo on our doorstep, after rescuing this large black feisty Water Shrew from our cat. As far as I could make out he was unharmed - he scuttled away as soon as I had taken the photo.
Water Shrews have toxic saliva and don't taste or smell good to cats but they are preyed on by owls, foxes etc.

More info on Water Shrews
Water Shrew
Snowdrops pictured on Feb 8th with some early dafs - Main Road Chidham
(Well, the dafs were a surprise for me)
Snowdrops pictured on Jan 14th. by the side of the Main Road in Chidham.
Please send in your photos of early signs of spring.
Are the days getting longer? Imperceptibly, but nevertheless spring will come.
The Bluebells of sussex

Stunning bluebells in the wood as you approach Kingsley Vale Car Park (from last year)

photo contributed by Bob Ashwood

Buzzards over Chidham Garage (and the local crows weren't happy.)
November 1st, a lovely bright cold day, with a bit of a northerly wind, there were a pair of buzzards circling over Chidham, slowly moving south. Learn more about Buzzards
October Mushrooms
If you can make an accurate identification they make good eating. But identifying them is not always easy - so if in doubt, play safe.
This fine heron was on the Chidham catchpond on the morning of October 17th.

It's always worth stopping to have a look.
Learn more about the Grey Heron

A Garden Visitor you may have mixed feelings about.
This handsome sparrowhawk visited my garden recently, and sat on a branch not too far from the birdfeeder. A bit like waiting for Waitrose to open, you could say. On this occasion after a while he/she departed empty handed. All part of the rich diversity of nature. I am not quite sure if it is a male or female - female I think. If you know, drop me an e mail.
Chidham sparrowhawk
Learn more about Sparrowhawks Sparrowhawk

Thanks to Mollie Clark for the photo of a grass snake found in the backgarden in Hambrook. It is about a foot long, so probably a juvenile. Are there grass snakes south of the Main Road? This is also a juvenile grass snake, not photographed locally
Learn more about Grass snakes

Is it a wasp or a spider?
This picture was taken by Rosa Taylor Beale (age 11)  in the garden of Cobnor House where a rather scary but beautiful wasp spider has taken up residence.  Incidentally, the myrtle bush which holds the web and "nest" was originally grown on from a sprig in the bridal bouquet of Margaret and Sydney Beale, who were married in 1914 and bought Cobnor House and farm in an auction in 1918.  Rosa is their great grand-daughter. Learn more about the wasp spider

Goslings after four and a half weeks.
(Thanks to Lynda Hughes)

The harvest is underway
A common site around the village - a tractor takes the crop to bulk storage.

Roe deer in Chidham These aren't brilliant, deer are notoriously difficult to photograph, but caught these two in the pea field by the churchyard, you can see the manor house wall behind one of them, at 6.00pm today (Thursday 6th).

JB will be probably be glad I frightened them off his peas!

Thanks to Lynda Hughes

Cobnor WheatDay by day the fields turn more and more golden and pale as the cereal crops ripen.  This is a field of wheat that still has touches of green in it - but not for long.....
Cobnor BarleyAnd this is barley, with its long whiskers.  Beautiful, and with a lovely scent in the evening.  It ripens earler than the wheat
Jacob's Sheep
The black and white one that looks like a goat is one of the Jacob's sheep at Cobnor after shearing.  All the ewes and the ram were shorn by David and Kirsty, who came to Cobnor with their mobile shearing gear at the end of June.  The sheep were delighted to shed their immense thick fleeces in time for the heat wave that followed just after! The ewe's lambs are the sooty-coloured ones in the picture.  They are born coal-black, then gradually turn browner and paler.  Their coats are still quite short and don't need shearing at this stage.
Olga and Sheep dogs
This is Olga, with her sheepdogs, Lynn and Wispa.  Olga is very well-known around Chidham, but not everyone will know that Olga comes to Cobnor every day to walk her dogs and to help keep an eye on the sheep.  Sheep must be checked daily, and the more experienced eyes to check them the better.  There are all sorts of things to watch out for: lameness, fly problems, getting caught in brambles, lying on their backs and not being able to get up, and signs of the innumerable diseases that sheep can suffer from! 

By the way, Olga also bakes the cookies and shortbread that are ready to welcome the guests as they arrive for their holidays at Canute Cottages, the self-catering cottages at Cobnor Farm.  Delicious!
We took a day off to cycle the new Salterns Way to West Wittering, taking the bikes across to Itchenor on the little ferry run by Andy (and his labrador!).  It's a lovely route.  At Wittering we met Mr Loader from Southbourne with sacks full of cockles that he'd collected from the mud.  Here he is showing us his "mud-shoes" for walking across the mud.  If any of you are fans of  the "Swallows and Amazons" books by Arthur Ransome, you will know them as "splatchers".  In Chidham we used to see old chaps with their bikes coming back from the mudflats by Manor Farm with their sacks of winkles.  If any of you remember them, let us know when you last saw them and who it was.
Bosham Channel from Cobnor
The summer is here and the sailing season is in full swing.  Here is the Bosham channel, seen from the Cobnor wheelchair path - always a great sight, whatever the season or weather
Thanks to Diana Beale

The view across a sea of golden barley, looking from Cobnor towards Bosham.
Cobnor Barley
On the left hand side of the road, wheat, coming on, but not yet fully ripe. Barley on the right hand side.
Cobnor wheat Chidham Barley

The cygnets from the swan's nest on the Chidham Catchpond have hatched. June 17th
There are five cygnets, and they have been out and about on the water already.
Thanks to Diana Beale for the photographs
Cygnets Catchpond cygnets
Chidham cygnets Swan and Cygnets
And Dad does a celebratory fly past!

The Catchpond, Chidham Lane, on 31st May
Heron at Chidham
This Heron caught a large fish just after this photo
Egret Extravaganza! And if I had only looked at the Catchpond, I would have missed this Little Egret who was hunting in the harbour just the other side of the road from the Catchpond.
Little Egret
Little Egret at Chidham
Little Egret Little Egret at Chidham
Little Egret Little Egret in Flight
In the end he flew away

Oak apples

What are these?
These are seen between May and June. They are home to the larvae of the oak apple gall wasp (Biorhiza pallida). The female lays her eggs in the leaf bud causing the oak tree to produce this apple-like growth It is about 4cms in diameter, and inside there are around thirty chambers each containing one wasp larvae. The 29th of May is traditionally 'Oak Apple Day' in Britain , which celebrates Charles II's return to England in May 1660.

Seasonal images
Cobnor Sheep and House
Brent Geese at Cobnor

| About this site | Terms of service | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Contact Us |