Branch news

Otters have been the highlight of the past few months with numerous sightings being made all within close proximity of the town of Wadebridge. My son and I had magnificent views of a large adult otter as it drifted up the Camel on a rising tide near Polgemmon. It was floating on its back with head raised and would occasionally roll over and hold its tail or feet clear of the water. Others have been reported close to the park at Egloshayle and at Sladesbridge.

Autumn migration has also brought sightings of snow buntings at Pentire Head and little stints on the Camel, with a maximum of seven at Trewornan.

Another unusual record for our area was that of a wild service tree at Trelill near St Kew.

One member of our committee has been investigating damage to 300 metres of moorland stream habitat at Delford Bridge. near St Breward. thought to have been caused during the summer months by people damming the stream to bathe. Some of the plants affected were Cornish moneywort and water crowfoot, along with two Red Data Book invertebrates.

We are also pleased to report that the local farmers at Treveigue Farm, north of Boscastle, have recently won the national SSSI award for sympathetic management of their farm for wildlife. This was made by English Nature.

The branch has discussed the summer fair and will be forwarding comments from our members to the Fair Committee via our representative. We have also reviewed the proposed amalgamation with the CBRU, with members ~
recognising the good work already done and looking forward to the continuation of the resource and the skills base.

Adrian Langdon

Cornish moneywort
Cornish moneywort. Illustration: Sarah McCartney

The autumn season started in Launceston with a joint meeting with neighbouring Tamar Branch, when Tony Atkinson gave an excellent slide talk on the wildlife and landscapes of the former Yugoslavia. Our rapidly growing membership in Launceston now intends to hold regular meetings in its area.

A few evenings later we moved north to Turkey in the company of Tim and Sandy Dingle, who gave us a delightful account of the wildlife of this vast country. and we all shared their wonder at the wealth of archaeological sites which have been left undisturbed for centuries, providing wonderful havens for wild flowers.

Our field meetings continued with our now regular October visit to Armstrong Wood Nature Reserve, when we were privileged to see in real life bats, dormice and their young. and field mice, when licensed study workers Tony Atkinson and Steve Robbins carried out one of their regular surveys of the bat and dormouse boxes we put up in the wood several years ago.

A practical work party at Penlee Battery Nature Reserve in November cleared and widened some 50 metres of footpath. easing access and, more importantly. providing a corridor of warm, sheltered, short vegetation in which flowers and insects can flourish. Further work parties here and at Tincombe Reserve will continue this valuable work over the winter, and I would appeal for more people to join us on these enjoyable and social events.

Finally, at the time of writing, we were delighted to continue our travels in Australia with Tony and Mary Atkinson - this time the very varied wet and dry forests, savannahs and deserts of northern tropical Australia. Coral reefs, mangrove communities, and 120- mile beaches crowded with 800,000 wading birds, completed the picture of a small part of this island continent.

Dave Gibbon

The AGM held in November was a sad occasion for Carrick Branch.
It was noted that the committee had been severely reduced in numbers because of the ill-health of several of the members, and there had also been a decline in interest from branch members (despite sending out several invitations, only five members attended the meeting, with no apologies). Many events were badly supported during the year. Although we had an offer of help from two branch members. it was decided that it was not enough to continue. It was with regret that the Chairman. Chris Burton, announced that the Carrick Branch should be brought to a close, but leaving an opportunity for someone else to form a new committee if they so wished.

The outstanding funds ha\e been used to purchase a seat on Daubuz Moors in memory of Barbara Dale, the remainder to be spent on some equipment for one of our reserves. The Chairman thanked the committee for all the work it had done for the branch (some members have helped for over ten years. since the formation of the branch). So this will be the last report from Carrick for some time. Thanks to the friends who have supported us at events and have taken an interest in the branch. We will miss you all.

Sheila Rowe

Well, autumn has nearly passed. and with it another fungus foray. An enjoyable afternoon was had at Pendarves Wood on I 3th October. There were 24 in the group. led by Barry Candy. and although not as many specimens were found as last year. it was a pleasant few hours on the new nature trail through the woods.

Another well-attended meeting took place at Stithians Reservoir - an autumn migration watch, led by Roger Hooper.
Cornish moneywort Illustration; Sarah McCartney.

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