Special interest groups
Strand Line Group
Facts leading to the formation
of the group
1994 - Mechanical beach cleaning by
tractor and cultivator started on all
beaches in North Cornwall by Council.
Object: to obtain Clean Beach
Certificate from the Tidy Britain Group.
Anxiety felt over the effect on sand and
wildlife. Objections by residents at
Porthcothan and elsewhere had no effect.
Autumn 1994 - Population of common
sandhopper Talitrus saltator down by
90%. Protests continue. Plymouth
Marine Laboratory, by finding papers by
Dr JA Williams on life and breeding
habits of T saltator, most helpful.
Spring 1995 - Letter published in spring
edition of Natural World, confirming
that in two years mechanical cleaning
will exterminate T. saltator, nature's
beach scavenger. Point taken up by
local and national press, including The
Times and ITV. Council continues
Autumn 1995 - As predicted,
sandhoppers extinct. Notified Tidy
Britain Group which was very
concerned and issued a condition that
"where a delicate habitat occurs on a
beach, the local naturalists must be
consulted on cleaning methods." Also,
"where a habitat is extremely vulnerable
to pressure, a beach should be removed
from the scheme."
It was now that the Trust would most
likely be consulted, so it became
essential that it possessed all necessary
information. Members around
Porthcothan called to a meeting to form
a "Strand Line Group" of the Cornwall
Wildlife Trust. Nine members attended
and voting was unanimously in favour.
Group leader invites councillors to view
a beach which had never been
"cleaned". Strand line examined and
councillors convinced of value of
sandhopper, and forthwith stopped
mechanical cleaning on beaches with a
strand line backed by sand dunes, as
present knowledge suggests that they are
essential for its survival.
Spring 1996 - Group collects good
number of sandhoppers from Tregirls
Beach and transfers them rapidly to
Porthcothan and Constantine Beaches.
Result to date encouraging. Further
surveys will be carried out.
The Trust has been delighted to help
generate local and national publicity for
Mr Garceau '5 cause, and congratulates
him on his success. We would be
delighted to hear from anyone else
wishing to raise the profile of a
Books written about grey seals usually
mention that, exceptionally, births may
occur outside the normal breeding
season. In 1995, one such birth took
place on 3rd June. This year, in the
neighbouring sea-cave, a pup was born
on 16th April. However, while the 1995
pup survived the suckling period to
moult and to become independent, the
1996 pup died on the second or third
day of its life. Following a post-mortem
examination at Polwhele, cause of death
was shown to have resulted from a
heavy blow to the skull. The very poor
physical condition and light weight of
the pup - just 7.5kg - were also noted.
It was significant that the pup was found
alone in the sea-cave on the 17th, with
no sign of the mother, either in the cave
or in the adjacent waters. It seems likely
that the mother-pup bond was not
established post-partum and the pup
may not have been fed at all. Two days
later, enfeebled by hunger, the pup was
thrown against the granite walls of the
cave, where it sustained the fatal injury.
Any news of sightings of pups or of
adult seals would be much appreciated -
this being the time of year when the
breeding season is in full swing.
Anyone for mammals?
The Trust hopes to set up a Small
Mammal Group next year, focusing on
creatures such as dormice, harvest mice
and water voles. Anyone interested in
taking part should ask the Trust to add
their name and address to the eventual
Volunteers Victoria Dodwell, Si6n Brackenbury
and Jo James have helped with a Mammal Society
harvest mouse survey in which tennis balls -
donated by Slazenger - are being converted into
artificial nests. Photo: Pat Morris
Recently an injured long-eared bat was
found in a shop doorway in Looe. We
took him back to the peace and safety of
our home at Granite Henge Holiday
Bungalows, where he became a great
favourite with our holiday guests. He
was eventually released at Kilminorth
Woods, but we have been acting as a bat
station ever since. If you have an injured
bat in South East Cornwall, or if you are
interested in holidays at Granite Henge,
do give us a call on (01503) 272772.
David and Jeanette Fellick
Help your Editor!
All contributions to Wild Cornwall are
warmly welcomed, but please keep
them as short as possible. Branch and
group reports should be no longer than
250 words unless a larger space has
been agreed in advance. Full-page
articles (maximum 700 words) can only
be accepted by prior arrangement. I
can't squeeze a quart into a pint pot!
RIGS Group |
Destroy one habitat to create another?