Farlington Marshes is an area of reclaimed land in Langstone harbour. It was reclaimed from the harbour in 1771 and includes a larger part of what was Binner's Island. Farlington Marshes is about 120 hectares in size and features both freshwater marsh and brackish marsh, it is a feeding ground for overwintering Brent geese. During World War 2 it was used as a starfish site acting as a decoy for Portsea Island; the control blockhouses remain on the marshes
Langstone Harbour is an inlet of the English Channel in Hampshire, sandwiched between Portsea Island to the south and west, Hayling Island to the south and east, Langstone to the north. Together with Chichester Harbour, at the other side of Hayling Island it is designated as a Special Protection Area for wildlife. West of Portsmouth is Portsmouth Harbour and the three linked harbours are important recreational and conservation areas as well as supporting commercial fishing and shipping, it is administered by the Langstone Harbour Board. The eastern boundary with Chichester Harbour is defined by a historic causeway known as the wade way, the only crossing between Hayling Island and the mainland, it is now impassable, having been cut in two by a deep channel for the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal in the 1820s. Langstone Harbour contains a number of islands; these are subject to erosion and during the 1990s a seven-year archaeology project took place before their history was lost to the seas. There are two smaller islands: Round Nap Island, connected to South Binness Island by a tidal causeway and Oyster Island.
Langstone Harbour was a river valley of one of the tributaries flowing into the River Solent. With the end of the last ice age sea levels rose until sometime between 4000 and 3500BC the harbour took on the form it would have until the 18th century. For much of its history the harbour has been an area of salt production; the Domesday Book records three salterns around the harbour and by the early 17th century a saltern at Copnor was well established. Here a large shallow area of the harbour meant that without further improvement salt could be extracted from the area after each tide; the Copnor saltern ceased production in 1800 but salt production continued elsewhere in the harbour until 1933. In 1771 Farlington Marshes were reclaimed from the north of the harbour. Oyster farming began in the harbour around 1820 with winkle and clam cultivation starting around much the same time. Production ceased in the 1950s. An attempt at oyster farming in the 1980s soon failed. In 1997 work began to turn the remains into an artificial lagoon.
The lagoon which has a small island at the centre has, as planned, become a breeding ground for birds little terns. During the Second World War the harbour was used as Starfish decoy site to misdirect German bombers; the harbour is home to an extensive range of bird life. Fifty species of fish have been found in the harbour; the harbour's bird life is richer, the harbour hosting a wide range of species some of which are represented by over 10,000 individuals. This is in a large part due to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds acquiring harbour's islands and a number of tidal areas in 1978 and turning them into bird sanctuaries; as a result of the number of birds the harbour as become a popular spot for bird watchers. Seals appear in the harbour in winter. American hard-shelled clams have been found in the harbour spreading from an initial release site on the lower River Test; the harbour is home to a population of Sand smelt. On 31 July 2008 a 26-foot, 7-tonne northern bottlenose whale was beached on a mudflat in Langstone Harbour.
A rescue operation was carried out to try to save the whale off the south coast of England and managed to free the whale from mudflats using a special lifting pontoon but it remained in shallow water. A decision was made to give the whale a lethal injection as a blood test revealed that it was suffering from kidney failure. If the whale swam into deeper water it could take up to two days to die from renal failure; the whale ended up about 3,000 miles off course due to its illness. There are several boat wrecks in the harbour. One of these is a tug dating from 8 May 1941; the tug named the Irishman was sunk by a magnetic mine and now rests submerged at low tide. A older wreck dating from 1926 is a Bucket dredger named the Withern. Of unrecorded age is the wreck of the Excelsior an 80-foot long barge; the harbour contains a wrecked landing craft that rests with its bows permanently above the surface. Close to the entrance of the harbour there is a wrecked Phoenix breakwater type C, it was constructed to form part of a World War 2 Mulberry Harbour.
Various artefacts have been found from the prison hulks that were kept in the harbour during the Napoleonic wars. RSPB reserve website Map sources for Langstone Harbour
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is a charitable organisation registered in England and Wales and in Scotland. It was founded in 1889, it works to promote conservation and protection of birds and the wider environment through public awareness campaigns and through the operation of nature reserves throughout the United Kingdom. The RSPB has over 1,300 employees, 18,000 volunteers and more than a million members, making it the largest wildlife conservation charity in Europe; the RSPB maintains 200 nature reserves. The origins of the RSPB lie with two groups of women, both formed in 1889; the Plumage League was founded by Emily Williamson at her house in Didsbury, Manchester, as a protest group campaigning against the use of great crested grebe and kittiwake skins and feathers in fur clothing. The Fur and Feather Folk was founded in Croydon by Eliza Phillips, Etta Lemon, Catherine Hall and others; the groups gained in popularity and amalgamated in 1891 to form the Society for the Protection of Birds in London.
The Society gained its Royal Charter in 1904. The original members of the RSPB were all women who campaigned against the fashion of the time for women to wear exotic feathers in hats, the consequent encouragement of "plume hunting". To this end the Society had two simple rules: That Members shall discourage the wanton destruction of Birds, interest themselves in their protection That Lady-Members shall refrain from wearing the feathers of any bird not killed for purposes of food, the ostrich only excepted. At the time of founding, the trade in plumage for use in hats was large: in the first quarter of 1884 7,000 bird-of-paradise skins were being imported to Britain, along with 400,000 birds from West India and Brazil, 360,000 birds from East India. In 1890, the society published its first leaflet, entitled Destruction of Ornamental-Plumaged Birds, aimed at saving the egret population by informing wealthy women of the environmental damage wrought by the use of feathers in fashion. A 1897 publication, Bird Food in Winter, aimed to address the use of berries as winter decoration and encouraged the use of synthetic berries to preserve the birds food source.
By 1898 the RSPB had 20,000 members and in 1897 alone had distributed over 16,000 letters and 50,000 leaflets. The Society attracted support from some women of high social standing who belonged to the social classes that popularised the wearing of feathered hats, including the Duchess of Portland and the Ranee of Sarawak; as the organisation began to attract the support of many other influential figures, both male and female, such as the ornithologist Professor Alfred Newton, it gained in popularity and attracted many new members. The society received a Royal Charter in 1904 from Edward VII, just 15 years after its founding, was instrumental in petitioning the Parliament of the United Kingdom to introduce laws banning the use of plumage in clothing. At the time that the Society was founded in Britain, similar societies were founded in other European countries. In 1961, the society acquired The Lodge in Bedfordshire as its new headquarters; the RSPB's logo depicts an Avocet. The first version was designed by Robert Gillmor.
Today, the RSPB works with both the civil service and the Government to advise Government policies on conservation and environmentalism. It is one of several organisations that determine the official conservation status list for all birds found in the UK; the RSPB offer animal rescue services. The RSPB maintains over 200 reserves throughout the United Kingdom, covering a wide range of habitats, from estuaries and mudflats to forests and urban habitats; the reserves have bird hides provided for birdwatchers and many provide visitor centres, which include information about the wildlife that can be seen there. The RSPB confers awards, including the President's Award, for volunteers who make a notable contribution to the work of the society. According to the RSPB: The RSPB Medal is the Society's most prestigious award, it is presented to an individual in recognition of wild bird protection and countryside conservation. It is awarded annually to one or two people; the RSPB has published a members-only magazine for over a century.
Bird Notes and News was first published in April 1903. The title changed to Bird Notes in 1947. In the 1950s, there were four copies per year; each volume covered two years, spread over three calendar years. For example, volume XXV, number one was dated Winter 1951, number eight in the same volume was dated Autumn 1953. From the mid-1950s, many of the covers were by Charles Tunnicliffe. Two of the originals are on long-term loan to the Tunnicliffe gallery at Oriel Ynys Môn, but in 1995 the RSPB sold 114 at a Sotheby's auction, raising £210,000, the most expensive being a picture of a partridge which sold for £6,440. From January 1964, publication increased to six per year. Volumes again covered two years, so vol. 30, covering 1962–63, therefore included nine issues, ending with the "Winter 1963–64" edition instead of eight. The final edition, vol. 31 no. 12, was published in late 1965. Miss M. G. Davies, BA, MBOU John Clegg Jeremy Boswell Bird Notes' successor Birds replaced it with volume 1, number 1 being the January