There were good numbers of snipe, widgeon and teal, with overwintering chiffchaffs. A fox spent a considerable amount of time watching us across the wetland, as intent on watching us as we were him. A good moming meeting witl enjoyable birdwatching and company.

The return Kerrier/Penwith quiz night took place at the Camborne Community Centre in September, with Penwith this time fielding the winning team. Many thanks to Terry for setting such an imaginative set of questions to keep the teams thinking. I think we all went home that evening with improved knowledge of our local flora and fauna.

We are now approaching our spring programme with some good events, walks and meetings - details in the diary

Gordon Mills

With Jane Richardson now far away on the banks of the Kavango River in northern Namibia, and Liz Tregenzajusi returned from Majorca, I have been asked to offer a snippet for the magazin( from Penwith. Liz tells me that while she and Roy were in Majorca they came across several specimens of the fungus Clathrus ruber, sometimes called the cage fungus. Strangely, at the same tim Clathnts ruber also turned up in the Memorial Gardens in Penlee Park, Penzance. Our well-known mycologist, Geoff' Miller, who incidentally told me of its presence in Penlee Park, informs me that, whilst rare, having only been found in Cornwall a few times before, near the Fire Station in Penzance, the churchyard in Falmouth, in Mylor and
on the Scilly Isles, it is not as rare as th~ other Clathrus species C. archeri, whid is occasionally found in Trewidden Estate, near Penzance, and looks like a brilliant red starfish. Geoff says that they are both thought to be introduction for they are, more often than not, found in gardens. C. ruber has a powerful, unpleasant smell, a bit like rotten meat, and many flies were buzzing around the specimen in Penlee Park.

Raymond Dennis

Cage fungus Clathrus ruber.Photo: Raymond Dennis
Rowena and Judd Varley, our registere( bat members, have been kept very busy all through the summer. They have dea with a considerable number of telephon calls from the Bat Helpline and a large number of referrals from English Natur( and other organisations. In addition, they have operated their Bat Care Centre. We applaud their dedication.

Our branch Annual Meeting had its smallest attendance ever (26), but we thank the Education Officer Mark Nicholson for his illustrated talk* on th reptiles and amphibians of Cornwall - subject which does not receive as much prominence as some of the other wildlife species.

At that meeting I confirmed what I had advised to the committee earlier in the year, that due to persistent medical problems I would not be offering myself for re-election as Branch Chairman. I have held the post since I called a meeting in 1976 to form the branch, an I have been most grateful for the support of the committee and members over the 20 years. We have achieved much for nature conservation that time. I would also pay tribute to Frances Smith, who acted as Minute Secretary from the outset; and to her husband Leslie, who joined soon after. They are standing down, but the rest of the committee is continuing, and would like a new Chairman. It has power to co-opt and elect its Chairman, and there must be ~someone in the Restormel membership that could offer to answer the call. Please contact me for details.

5, Thanks and good wishes to you all.

Denis Elloiy

* Note from Mark - if any other branch is suffering from overcrowding at its meetings, I will be delighted to oblige with a similar talk!

Our summer fund-raising events were well supported. Takings at the lt "Triangle" sale in Bude were double those of last year, but the walks and picnics were not well attended, so we shall probably concentrate on fund- raising in the future.

The autumn talks opened with Nick Tregenza telling us how to metamorphose into cetaceans and describing the dolphins, whales and sharks that may be seen in Cornwall - e always a popular subject. In October, Jane Anderson gave an informative and enthusiastic talk about the geology of the county, explaining how the present land mass was formed and taking us on a "walk" from Trebarwith to Bude, illustrated by detailed slides of the different rock formations. The meeting at Launceston, when Tony Atkinson If described the wildlife of Yugoslavia before their recent civil war, was reasonably well attended and it is hoped d to have another meeting there later in rt the year.

There was a Fox Club meeting at Lower in Lewdown, where the children found two dormice in their boxes, caught two wood mice in mammal traps and saw a roosting barn owl.

At Maer Lake work continues to monitor open water among spreading iris beds; the reeds will, if necessary, be cut again. There are plenty of birds there, including migrants. The water level controls are better, thanks to new board sluices. Some of this work has been funded by a Rural Action grant.

Gill Ruddock

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