Friends of the Fowey Estuary

Friends of the Fowey Estuary Volunteer Meeting

22nd January 2020 at 7.00pm

Fisherman’s Arms, Golant

Attended

Claire Hoddinott

Ian Laughton

Sarah Laughton

Richard Gabb

Margaret Gardener

Gillie Hind

Max Burgess

Apologies

Peter Edwards

Rob Wells

Carol Gabb

Sue Reardon

 Project Updates:

Osprey Nests Project

There had been an Osprey sighting reported in the entrance to Pont Pill by Rupert Kirkwood, 'the Lone Kayaker' in late autumn. MG said she would catch up again with the National Trust about keeping the nests in good condition.

Heronry Census

PE has made recent contact with the new tenants at Haye Farm, they are supportive of the heronry and osprey nest projects and allow our volunteers access to the land. The Heronry census will soon be starting, there will be visits to Haye Farm to view the Penpol heronry on the opposite bank and also to Golant Downs which offers the best viewpoint for the sub-colony at Haye Point. In 2019, higher numbers were noted at Haye Point in comparison to previous years, there may be a split from the main colony. It will be interesting to see if this is the case this year. IL reported herons on the river earlier in the week. The census will start soon, get in touch if you'd like to get involved. Stuart and Peter to advise of survey dates for distribution.

WeBS Survey

PE and GH have been doing a low-tide count of birds as part of the BTO's Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS). CH read a report written by PE which outlined counts from their surveys so far, these surveys take place between November and February. Sightings have included Black Headed Gulls and Herring Gulls, Little Grebe, Curlew, Red Shanks, Little Egrets and Herons. There was some difficulty distinguishing between Shag and Cormorant although apparently this is a little easier now as the Shag's distinctive head crest is more obvious. There is a last count to do in February and if anyone wishes to join in, please be in touch.

Other Birding

- IL and SL said the murmurations of Starlings at Roughtor were particularly good recently.

- IL also reported 2 Little Grebes in Golant Pill, a Lesser Black Back Gull, Red Shanks but no Greenshanks. There are Goldcrests in their garden and a female Blackcap as well as Pied Wagtails.

- MB had seen a Black Redstart in his garden in Fowey.

- CH had seen a Great Northern Diver on two occasions in Fowey Harbour in December.


Insects

CH has distributed information about a new project being run by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust looking at pollination in the Fowey Valley and encouraging bees. There is a meeting on Tuesday 28th January at 12.30pm in Lostwithiel Community Centre. IL, MG and CH said they were attending and would feedback to the group. IL is interested in developing a record of the bees, wasps and hoverflies in the Fowey Estuary area, he talked about a photo ID project but will see how this links with this project before moving forward.

IL also noted that Leyonne Farm in Golant has given over the edges of some fields for planting of wildflowers as bee strips.

Otter Survey Project

We had an interesting talk in October by Dave Groves about the Cornwall Coastal Otter Project being run by the Cornwall Mammal Group. We have had no further update about the project.

Dormouse Surveys

MG had found a bank vole on a visit to Lombard when checking her dormouse boxes. CH had joined Rob Wells on the October survey at Lantyan, there were wood mice, a pygmy shrew and a nest which could have been a dormouse nest with a woven structure, although nothing was found in this box on the November check. With no dormice counted at Lantyan for a few seasons now, Rob is considering doing a twice-yearly check at Lantyan rather than monthly. CH to distribute Lantyan survey dates once they have been organised.

MG said she'd found dormouse opened nuts at the farm on Dartmoor, this was formerly recorded and apparently dormouse are well recorded in Devon.

Pacific Oysters

CH said that the Pacific Oyster project continues to be very well supported, thanks to all the volunteers who have been involved. The project funded by Natural England officially ends in March, but it is hoped that volunteers will be able to continue with the monitoring and control of Pacific Oysters. We have been covering new areas this winter and also re-visiting areas culled last winter and are pleased to see low rates of re-colonisation.

There is still wider work going on to find alternative uses for Pacific Oysters; chefs are being encouraged to use these 'feral oysters' and there are projects looking at crushed oyster shells as a soil improver.

Forthcoming Events

- Love Your Beach Day - Friday 21st February 10am to 12pm at Readymoney - Beach clean and sand sculptures

- Talk – Cornwall's Butterflies by Shaun Poland – Wednesday 26th February 7.30pm at Trenython

- AGM & Talk – Cornish Choughs by Roger Hooper – Tuesday 24th March 7.30pm at RFYC


AOB

- MG has recently found out that the National Wildflower Centre is now at the Eden Project.

- MG recently attended a Harvest Mouse workshop in Devon, these are a protected species, but you do not need a licence to monitor.

- MG said there is a climate change meeting coming up in St Austell

- SL said it is the 'Year of the Soil'


The meeting closed at 8.40pm

Date of next meeting: Wednesday 29th April 2020 at 7pm in Fisherman’s Arms

To get in contact, please email: friendsofthefowey@gmail.com