Calling all photographers: cash prizes are open to you for the best pictures of wildlife, landscape or heritage around the Manhood peninsula. Top prize is £100, with another four of £50.
This is the area usually known as Selsey Bill, on the coast south of Chichester, aka the Chichester Plain. Now, there is a group of volunteers who live down there known as the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group who slave away making ponds for dragonflies, clearing out the drainage ditches, planting hedges and oak trees, making paths for you to walk along, and surveying the butterflies, bees, wild flowers, wild mammals, birds and beetles. They are a dynamic group but they have a huge burden of work to complete especially in the parish of Sidlesham where winter flooding can cause havoc, so they have thought up this very pleasant way of getting your interest in the area.
This week’s walk takes you along one of the obvious area to photograph: the sea with its long shingle bank stretching up along to Pagham Harbour. Sea birds from those of the deep ocean such as skuas and gannets to inshore birds like turnstones and curlews are continually moving along the coast while shingle flora with its vast range of colour from deep blue and purple to bright yellow and white is now at its very best.
Pagham Harbour on the east side of the area to Medmerry on the west side are international flyway stop-overs for at least 30 species of water birds now moving between the Arctic and Africa on migration. A curlew-sandpiper en route between the Ob and the Niger delta could be a very nice prize entry as it sips a drink in Sidlesham ferry pool. But you might make a better photo of a gang of herring gulls loafing on the shingle island in Pagham.
Maybe a peregrine falcon chasing a redshank above the saltings could give you a once-in-lifetime chance. Yet a blue damselfly looking delicately beautiful in the ditches of the farmland could make first prize. I suppose there are 300 species of moths scattered about the countryside of fields and hedgerows, gardens and saltings. A magnificent Jersey tiger moth was spotted in an Itchenor garden recently and made the MWHG annual report, together with a brown argus butterfly and a wood mouse on a bird feeder.
There is so much to see in this Garden of Eden. No wonder Patrick Moore wanted to live there. Maybe he would have submitted a picture of the planets seen through his telescope or the full moon’s reflection broken by a rippling tide as an entry. The sky is the limit for subject matter and you have only three weeks to get going and track down your prize.
The competition opened on 16 July and will run till 12 August. Pictures must be entered at the website www.mwhg.org.uk.which will also tell you how to enter, or tweeted to the twitter account or posted to the Facebook page mwhgpage. Entries via social media must use the hashtag mwhg20. There is a special entry category for the under-16 age group.