A walk at Sladesbridge to aid tree identification was well attended recently. Members were expertly guided by Simon Ford, who pointed out guelder rose, spindle, alder stands, wet carr and many other examples.
More otter records have been received from the St Kew area, and two wild deer were spotted near the A389 on the outskirts of Wadebridge.
As the bird life suffered during the bitterly cold weather during December and January, many are thought to have died; a little egret was found dead at St Kew and another was found with its legs frozen on the Camel Estuary. (This one was saved and successfully returned to the wild.)
Other notable sightings were snow and Lapland buntings at Pentire, and seven Bewick swans at Walmsley Sanctuary along with large numbers of snipe, widgeon and teal. Black redstarts were also recorded from many sites in the North Cornwall area, and the new year started well with a bittern being sighted at Trewornan on 1st January.
The branch committee is always keen for any assistance, especially with the delivery of newsletters. Some help is needed in the local villages, the urban areas of Bodmin and Wadebridge and elsewhere to deliver the three editions a year. If you think you can help, please contact our Chairman Brian Wright on (01208) 814138.
Snipe illustration: Sarah McCartney
New faces are bringing renewed inspiration to the branch. Our excellent Chairman Dave Gibbon retired, but fortunately David Bradshaw offered to take his place. Gail Cory is the new Secretary and we also welcome Alison Vaughan to the committee. Thanks to Steve Christmas for becoming Reserves Committee Chairman, and thanks too for the continuing work of committee members, including Events Organiser Tony Atkinson and Treasurer Jenny Llewellyn. The AGM was followed by a revelational talk about the role of conifers in wildlife conservation by Esmond and Jeanette Harris. 'Farming and Wildlife: Friends or Foes?' was well attended. The emotive subject was tackled well, provoking lively discussion.
The year ahead looks promising - do join in.
With winter now behind us, we can all look forward to the lighter evenings and warmer weather. With this in mind, we were blessed with good weather in February for the placing of the wooden trail marker signposts in their correct places at Pendarves Wood. A very big thank you to all those who turned up to help. It was a resounding success.
The branch AGM on 12th March was held at Allet this year. Officers and committee members were elected as follows: Chairperson Grace Mason; Vice-chairperson Linda Perry; Secretary Lorna Crewes; Treasurer Gordon Mills.
The meeting was followed by a very informative talk by Chris Howe on the merger of the Trust with the CBRU.
Kerrier Branch is eagerly looking forward to its programme of field meetings, which we hope will include a bat watch and bat survey in Pendarves Wood and a butterfly watch in August in the Gwithian dunes area, linking up with the Penwith Branch. Don't forget the circular walk from St Keverne to Porthallow on 18th May. All details can be found in the diary.
The first meeting of the Launceston Branch got off to a successful start with a well-attended presentation by Victoria Scott on the Trust's nature reserves, concentrating on those in the Launceston area. Over 33 people attended and afterwards enjoyed refreshments and further discussion. Most of those attending filled out a questionnaire, expressing the ways in which they would like to get involved in the Trust's activities. One outcome of this is a project to maintain one of our local village ponds. Mark Nicholson is to help set the project up and will give a talk on the management of ponds for wildlife conservation at our next evening meeting in June.
Filled with enthusiasm by Victoria's presentation, 20 people of all ages met on the following Sunday in glorious sunshine to get first-hand experience of three of our local reserves - Creddacott Meadows, Armstrong Wood and Luckett, guided by wardens Anna Coles, Steve Robbins and Richard Vulliamy. There is interest among members in helping with the management of these reserves. Apart from this and pond dipping, the summer activities will focus on nature rambles in our local parishes. Please contact me for further information on (01566) 774902.