Friends of the Fowey Estuary

Friends of the Fowey Estuary Volunteer Meeting

16th January 2019 at 7.00pm

Fisherman’s Arms, Golant


Claire Hoddinott

Peter Edwards

Liz Anderson

Margaret Gardener

Bruce Goodwin

Rob Wells

Karen Wells-West

Project Updates:

Osprey Nests Project

CH reported a possible Osprey sighting in Fowey earlier this week although unconfirmed, the bird swooped to the water surface before flying into the woods above Prime Cellars, could have been a buzzard?

RW said that Three Bays Wildlife Group (3BW) are trying to approach Caerhays about the possible siting of an osprey pole on their land, it is quite close to the upper Fal estuary. RW also said the reintroduction project in Poole may see young males coming back to the site this year, they have committed to releasing about 8 individuals each year for the course of the 6 year project.

Heronry Census

FOFE will be involved in the heronry survey again this year, Stuart is already seeing herons in the woods at Haye Point. PE visited Haye Farm recently, Alix and Nigel have vacated the farm and PE hasn’t been able to make contact with the new tenants yet. PE thinks the osprey poles are in fields rented byothers, this needs to be confirmed. Ideally surveys should start within the next month and the best counts are usually in March/April. Heron survey dates to be sent out to volunteers as they are organised.

Other Birding

- MG said that a Tawny Owl had been seen flying across the road into trees at Toynes on the journey to the meeting (sighting recorded via ORKS by CH)

- MG reported birds (Pied Wagtail and Common Sandpiper) coming into her yard looking for freshwater. - LA said the woodpeckers were pairing up in their garden and nuthatches too, Robin has a new camera

lens and is getting some good images.

- LA is taking part in the BTO Tawny Owl survey in their garden and has completed about 10 weeks, her feeling is that numbers of records are lower than last year.

- KWW thinks she has heard the call of a Little Owl in Golant, no records in the area for several years so unsure. MG said that recordings of calls can be sent off to experts for identification.

Otter Survey Project

RW said the Cornwall Coastal Otter Project is now underway and is being run by the Cornwall Mammal Group. There is a training event planned for Tuesday 12th February at 7pm at Heligan (poster attached). There will be a talk by Dave Groves of CMG and some training to identify otter sites using spraint. The project wants to find out more about how otters use the coast and how much they can tolerate the saltwater environment. If you would like to attend, please contact Rob direct to book your place

- KWW said there had been sightings of an otter crossing the river from Sawmills to Penpoll, this is mostly seen at neap tides.

- CH said that Ian McCarthy has some trail camera footage of otters on the Fowey which he will show at the Heligan event. Ian has also been working with the National Trust to install some artificial otter holts on the Fowey. CH commented that an artificial holt has also been installed at Par Beach by Friends of Par Beach.

Dormouse Surveys

MG reported that no dormice had been seen at Lombard in 2018, that’s the second year with no dormice, MG also noted less birds using the boxes last year. She had found a box with contained the cocoons of wax moths or bee moths which had been sent off for identification, the larvae of these species can predate bees. RW reported a similar situation at Lantyan this year, no dormice and only 1 mammal record in the whole year which was a woodmouse. 2018 has been reported among dormouse recorders nationally to have been a poor year generally, populations may have been affected by a cold spring and a hot summer.

RW said the tubes on Dave & Karen’s land had shown no evidence of dormice. There are some repairs to do to the tubes. They will be put out again this year, Rob thought it ok for Karen to check the tubes herself without a licence until any evidence of dormouse presence is found, for example nests or nibbled nuts. RW said the tubes put up by 3BW at Portmellon also produced no results.

ReFILL Project

CH said the ReFILL scheme continues to be successful and there seems to have been a change in mind-set about single use plastics. The ReFILL bottles are nearlyall sold and the proceeds are gratefullyreceived by FOFE. We will not be purchasing any more bottles to sell at this time.

PE asked about the Plastic Free Fowey project, CH said despite offering the group’s help, we have heard nothing more.

LA said that at her workplace at Treliske Hospital there are collection points for pens and crisp packets which are being recycled. CH commented that Readymoney Beach Shop is a collection point for crisp packets too.

Pacific Oysters

CH said that the Pacific Oyster project is now well underway for this season with 2 monitoring and control sessions already taken part and the third planned for next week. A good team of volunteers are involved and although it’s a messy job, we are making a difference an area cleared in April 2018 has seen very low rates of recolonization. If anyone else wants to get involved, contact Claire.

CH also said that Friends of Par Beach have been carrying out the same project at Par, there are oysters growing on the harbour wall at Par Harbour and no doubt also inside the harbour but permission to access the site has not been secured from Imerys.

CH said the monitoring and control phase of the project will continue until the end of April. Natural England advice is to stop control between May and October as culling during this period could result in the oysters spawning artificially.

Forthcoming Events

- Talk Cornish Rockpools by Heather Buttivant Tuesday 22nd January 7.30pm at Fowey Gallants Sailing Club

- Love Your Beach Day Saturday 16th February 10.30am 12noon at Readymoney. Beach cleaning and sand sculptures and unveiling our new sign!

- Talk Ancient Trees by Tim Kellett Wednesday 20th February 7.30pm at Lostwithiel Church Rooms

- AGM & Film Wild Cornwall Out On The Edge by Ian McCarthy Tuesday 26th March 7.30pm at Trenython Manor Hotel.

- Your Shore Conference Saturday 2nd March Timings TBC at the Royal Cornwall Showground Pavilion


- CH said a dead Muntjac deer had been reported on Readymoney beach last week. KWW said that there were more deer around, they can cause damage to trees but nothing as bad as the grey squirrels! BG said he’d seen Roe deer in his garden.

- PE said that thelive aboards are still there, no action has been taken by FHC.

- CH said that FOFE have now completed the design for the sign at Readymoney, it will be unveiled at the Love Your Beach Day Event on Saturday 16th February All welcome!

The sign will be part funded byproceeds gained from ReFILL bottles sales and also a grant secured from the CWT Your Shore Beach Rangers of £500.

- LA gave some more information about the nature area being developed at the northern end of Golant Pill. Liz has got some free trees and tree guards from the Woodland Trust, these are a harvest mix (sloes, elderflower etc.) and an ‘all year round colour mix’, they are due for delivery in March and there will be a planting event. The native plant seeds which were sourced have been planted and are growing, these will be planted out in May. The plant species sourced are all following the advice of Natural England for this habitat type. A picnic bench is also being funded locally and there are ideas for bird nest boxes in the future. PE said we have a FOFE visit planned for June.

- There was a general discussion about speeding and careless behaviour on the water in the upper estuary, there is concern about wildlife disturbance as well as public safety. There continue to be regular sightings of the common seal in the upper estuary and also a dolphin reported last week. RW and CH suggesting referring to the Cornwall Marine & Coastal Code which tries to raise awareness of potential disturbance and promote best practice when it comes to wildlife watching and encounters. For more information see

The meeting closed at 8.45pm

Date of next meeting: Wednesday 3rd April 2019 at 7pm in Fishermans Arms, Golant

To get in contact, please email: