The Camel Branch Committee has met regularly and continues to raise issues on behalf of its members. Of concern to us has been the emotive newspaper reports about Źplagues of poisonous caterpillarsĖ rampaging across the county. We have now asked headquarters to issue some true scientific facts to the media, before every invertebrate in the area falls foul of the vast amounts of insecticide being liberally sprayed around.
The bird life is really struggling to find enough food during this wet June, with the hirundines especially having difficulties seeking flying insects. This is unfortunate also, because Wadebridge has seen a great increase in house martin nests this summer, with a colony above Lloyds Bank in the main street now numbering 25 nests.
Other items of interest have been a woodchat shrike at Rock, which showed itself well to observers as it perched on the tops of bushes in the early evening sun, and two nightjars calling, along with a grasshopper warbler, at Tregellist, near St Kew.
Butterflies too have suffered from the rain, but at Tregellist there was an early clouded yellow and at Boscastle and Crackington there have been good numbers of dark-green fritillaries.
At Hay Valley, near the Hawkes Wood reserve, there have been sightings of roe deer. This confirms our belief that they are spreading across our area, as reports increase. We would, of course, welcome any sightings from our members.
Not guilty - lackey moths are among the species erroneously branded and unnecessarily sprayed as a result of "poisonous caterpillar plague" hysteria. Illusration: Srah McCartney
On 28th June, Caradon Branch operated a stall at the Duchy College open day, selling Trust sales goods, plants grown by two of our committee members and items purchased by us for resale. Callington Horse Show was scheduled to occur on the same day, but was, unfortunately, cancelled due to a less-than-favourable weather forecast. This, no doubt, kept numbers down, but we nevertheless still returned a profit on the day for branch funds. Future events will be Liskeard Horticultural Show, Merrymeet Traction Engine Rally, Stoke Climsland Show and Callington Honey Fair.
With the money raised from these, and other events throughout the summer, we hope to support the staging of some particularly interesting indoor events (in more agreeable surroundings than our previous venue) next winter.
We would like to expand the range of items we sell, so if you grow some plants, have some good-quality second-hand books, make preserves, or have anything else you think we could sell, please contact Gail Cory - (01579) 347445 - or myself - (01579) 363538. We are doing this to raise money for your branch to do more for its members, and that is you! So, if you are attending any of these events, please look us up for a chat or, better still, lend a hand running the stall for an hour (that way we get to look around the shows too!). We look forward to meeting more of the Caradon membership in the future.
The intention had been simply to Źtick overĖ over these summer months, keeping members involved through monthly walks, but we have been active in several other areas and have gathered sufficient funds to justify opening a bank account!
Ponds have featured heavily, with a very detailed and stimulating talk by Mark Nicholson one very wet evening. Good progress has also been made in obtaining local support, putting together funds, materials and labour, to apply for a Rural Action grant to rebuild one section of a village pond at Truscott. The intention here is to enable one section of the pond to retain water over the whole year. An autumn start is planned. Our presence at the Launceston Victoria Fair in June promised to be another wet event, but the weather was kind to us and we raised almost £20. Two of our younger members managed to sell our complete supply of Trust jumping frogs by ŹwalkingĖ them round the square. Thanks to all our helpers, including those who donated plants.
Our plan for the winter programme is to continue to supply talks on local conservation issues, starting with a talk in October on the streams and rivers in North Cornwall from the Environment Agency. An innovative diversion from this approach, in November, is to bring in a traditional storyteller to entertain the young and old alike, with tales of wildlife and the countryside, at a local manor house, in front of a roaring log fire.
We are gradually beginning to know how our local members want to be involved. In time, we will have a group that will give regular help to our local nature reserves, particularly Armstrong Wood and Creddacott Meadows. Both were visited over the last three months as part of our walking programme, which has been a great success for the relatively small group of members that want to be active in this way. We have offers to visit and explore several local farms in our area. One of the main features of these walks is the wildlife expertise provided by Mary and Tony Atkinson, who have been on every walk so far.
Over the past three months we have held three outdoor events, starting with a wildflower walk at St Erth. We met at St Erth Church and walked across fields to Tredrea Manor and on to Trewinnard Manor. We then descended past Trewinnard Mill and, before reaching the river, some rather splendid orchids were admired. We then walked up Tremallis Lane and ended our walk at St Erth Pits, the Trust s latest reserve in Penwith.
Our next event was the nightjar evening and, despite a miserable, wet night, ten people turned up at the Gurnards Head Inn. We walked down towards Gurnards Head, where a peregrine falcon was spotted. After a swift pint, back at the Gurnards Head Inn, we drove to Bosigran in hopes of spotting some nightjars. However, due to the inclement weather, we were unlucky.
Our most recent event was the dragonfly watch at Crows-an-Wra, kindly hosted by Mr and Mrs Hocking. After a good afternoon s walk round the farm, everyone was treated to tea and cakes. The recent unseasonal weather has given us a few surprises, with 17 crossbills spotted in conifers at Crows-an-Wra and giant puffball mushrooms growing at St Erth.
Stuart Hutchings and his team have been very busy doing fencing and access work at St Erth Pits. At Loggan s Moor, persons unknown abandoned ten horses which could have caused damage to the plant life of the reserve. Fortunately they were removed within a few days of their arrival.
As always, everyone is welcome to attend our meetings and events.
Firstly, on behalf of all the committee, past and present, I would like to give a big vote of thanks to our outgoing Chairman Denis Ellory. Denis took on the chairmanship over 20 years ago and has been a constant worker and organiser of work parties, field days and evening meetings ever since. I hope that he has only hung up his pen, and will still be attending our future meetings and boring us all to death with his stories of those long hot summer days of the past! Thank you Denis from all your friends. With one of the hottest Mays on record, hedgerows were ablaze with the colour of wild flowers, and spring butterflies - brimstone, orange-tip and holly blue - were abundant. Our Goss Moor butterfly walk brought out a large number of people, on what must have been our last day of summer!! Small pearl-bordered and marsh fritillaries, dingy and grizzled skippers, and orange-tip were seen on the day. Thanks to John Gregory for his help with the moths.
A search party is still out looking for the lost members who went astray on Dell Netherton s tour of Red Moor - keep it up Dell, I m fed up with delivering all these Trust magazines. Nine brave souls attended our bird watch at Newquay. After the gale-force winds and rain, we had excellent views of the kittiwakes, and were lucky enough to see a few gannets diving in the bay and storm petrels battling against the strong winds. What did happen to those long hot summers?
Restormel AGM: see painting volcanoes article (page 11).
Can you please help with magazine deliveries in Crantock, Mawgan Porth and other Restormel areas? Please call me if you can help - (01726) 861093.
Our moth evening at Lower Lewdon was not very well attended - except by the moths! Tim Dingle tells me that 49 were seen, but I am not sure, on reflection, if he means individuals or species, and I really can t ring him up again!
I can report on our June walk in conjunction with Caradon Branch more clearly, as I was one of the participants. The people came from as far afield as Land s End and enjoyed a walk from Trevalga, on both coastal and inland paths, in fine, windy weather. Two large offshore rocks provided ample scope for bird-watching, and a puffin obligingly put in an appearance, together with other auks and a good number of guillemots and razorbills. Optional excursions off the coast path provided sightings of a good number of rare plants, including wild chives and maidenhair fern. Tony Atkinson completely disappeared in a reedbed at one point, except for his cap held aloft on his stick! He also insisted on taking a small dead mammal home - to identify and record, he said, though some of us accused him of wishing to supplement his supper! As you will gather, we were a merry crowd and had an excellent and interesting day out.
Our first garden safari has been acclaimed as a success, despite indifferent weather. Some of the gardens were visited by about 100 people and all were well attended. We have not yet gathered together all the takings, but I believe about £200 has been raised. Many thanks to all who made their gardens available and were there all day to welcome visitors and answer their questions.
Our winter programme will start again on 15th September in the Parkhouse Centre, Bude, at 7.30pm - the speaker has not been arranged at the time of going to press.
Puffins - this signed, limited-edition print by Sarah McCartney is available for £10 from the Trust shop (or add it to your Christmas order - see back page).