Friends of the Fowey Estuary

Friends of the Fowey Estuary Volunteer Meeting

30th  January 2018 at 7.00pm

Fisherman’s Arms, Golant

Attended Claire Hoddinott Rob Wells Peter Edwards Ian Laughton Caroline Harvie Janet Longman Michael Williams Karen Wells-West Margaret Gardener Carol Gabb Stuart Young Bruce Goodwin

Apologies Richard Gabb Sue Reardon Dave Johns Sarah Laughton

Project Updates:

Osprey Nests Project

MG said the annual renewal of nest material needs to be done in Spring, PE has contacted Peter Kent and the National Trust will be involved.

RW raised the introduction of 8 juvenile ospreys to Poole Harbour (report can be found on the FOFE website). The chicks are taken from healthy populations in Scotland and will be re-introduced each year. It is hoped that once local capacity is reached, the young birds will spread further and even to nest as far as Fowey! There had been low numbers of sightings of osprey on the Fowey in 2017 and at the last meeting Ian McCarthy had suggested this may have been linked to possible less grey mullet in the estuary.KWW had seen a spoonbill opposite St Winnow in October. SY commented that Great White Egrets and Cattle Egrets had also been sighted.

Otter Survey Project

RW said that Ian McCarthy still has cameras out on the Fowey Estuary, CH said he had reported recent otter activity at Wiseman's Stone. PE said that Ian's film of Cornish Wildlife (of which were treated to a sneak preview at the last meeting) will be shown in full at the FOFE AGM meeting in March 2019.

Dormouse Surveys

RW has made a list of monthly survey dates for Lantyan CH to distribute to dormouse group (if you're not on the email group and want to be, let Claire know).

RW and MG reported that no dormice had been found at Lantyan or Lombard in 2017, MG said that lack of woodland management had been suggested as a contributor to national declines. RW showed us a dormouse tube which are used for short-term stop overs for dormouse, for a quick sleep. They are a great tool to check for presence of dormouse. We have 50 tubes, 25 will be put up in Dave & Karen's wood to check for potential presence and the other 25 are being used by RW for the 3 Bays Wildlife Group. Phil has also been using footprint traps in tubes in Lantyan which contain an ink pad and paper to see who is passing through by their footprints!

MG has a bramble hedgerow at Lombard which she'd like to look for natural nests within.CH said that 6 people had signed up to take part in dormouse training to potentially work towards getting a dormouse handling licence. If anyone else would like to be involved, let Claire know. Gaining a licence involves handling dormouse which might require visits to other dormouse areas if local surveys have no dormice in 2018.

Heronry Census

PE and SY reported herons back at Penpoll, PE had sighted 21 flying out last week. There will be a walkunder

survey on Tuesday 13th February, meeting at 1300 at Golant Quay. Please let Peter know if you'd like to go along.

SY would still like to confirm if Little Egrets and Herons are using the same nests.

MG said that Simon Taylor (BTO Rep) had requested information on historic Heronry nest sites, CH said she had forwarded information submitted to the BTO in 2014. Janet was asked to look for heron activity in Great Wood, south of St Winnow, once she is back out afloat.

Bird Surveys

Michael gave the group a brief summary of the various BTO surveys which will be covered further in a FOFE event in May when Simon Taylor, the BTO Regional Representative will give a talk.

The BTO undertakes quantitative surveys of birds and research commissions to study birds in a changing environment. The data collection is undertaken by volunteers.

– Heronry Census – been going for 90 years, counting heron nesting activity

– Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) – been going for 70 years, synchronised monthly core counts from

Sept – March and low tide counts, the latter hasn't been done for Fowey since 2004/05

– BirdTrack- Online recording system, used to regularly record a set area or log individual sightings.

– Garden Bird Watch – similar to Big Garden Birdwatch in method but more regular, online or paper recording. –  Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) – Randomly chosen 1km2 surveyed twice a year. No available squares locally at this time.

– Nest Record Scheme – using nest boxes to monitor breeding success. Could be linked to dormouse box scheme – RW confirmed that Blue Tits regularly use dormouse boxes. RW and MG to continue to record birds nests in dormouse boxes to feed into this data.

– Winter Bird Survey – a 1km square is selected by the surveyor and is surveyed monthly. The group felt this could be achievable by members.

– Species specific survey – for example, house martins, tawny owls.

– Atlas of Breeding and Wintering Birds – last published in 2013, it is based on 4 years of fieldwork.

ReFILL Project

The ReFILL project has gained momentum locally with good coverage of the issues around single-use plastics and marine litter in the media. Volunteers are needed to sign up businesses as ReFILL stations in communities around the Estuary. If you can get involved, contact Claire.

Pacific Oysters

IL asked about the progress of possible control measures for Pacific Oysters. CH said that Natural England had been successful in getting some funding to further investigate. The scale of increased spread and density has been very noticeable over the last 2 seasons. Advice on control measures needs to be led by Natural England. CH will continue to pursue with Natural England.


- Wednesday 14th February - Love Your Beach Day, 10am – 12 noon at Readymoney. Beach cleaning, rockpooling and beach art.

- Tuesday 20th February – Talk 'Filming Cornish Marine Life' by Tom Daguerre from Hydromotion Media. 7.30pm at Trenython Manor Hotel

- Saturday 24th February – Your Shore Conference, Bedruthan Steps Hotel.

AOB There was no other business

The meeting closed at 9.10pm

Date of next meeting: Wednesday 9th May at 7pm at Fisherman's Arms, Golant

To get in contact, please email: