Friends of the Fowey Estuary DormiceUpdates Dormouse Monitoring Heronry Census

The Heron’s breeding season starts as early as February or March with young in the nest by late April. So we started our surveying in late January 2013, by boat, looking for sites mentioned in historic records and anecdotal reports. Our first quest was to the Great Wood Site just below St. Winnow where a 1928 report in British Birds listed 8 breeding pairs. However no herons were observed on this occasion. We subsequently learnt that this heronry was blown out in a storm, possibly the 1990 Burns Day Storm.

We then made our way to a site at the mouth of Penpoll Creek, which was more successful, and here we counted 12 nest sites and some 20 herons flying in the vicinity. It’s possible that after the Gt. Wood site was wrecked the birds started a new heronry in the woods here which have only matured comparatively recently. These trees are not shown on the 1962 6-inch OS map. Three weeks later again, on 15th Feb, our next survey was by land, by kind permission of Nigel and Alex Vincent of Haye Farm at St. Veep who farm the land overlooking Penpoll from the north side Here we found a very good vantage point across into the nesting area, but far enough away not to disturb the birds. On this occasion we counted up to nine nesting sites. A second visit to the same spot, 8th March, yielded more positive results, with birds and nests more clearly occupied, and we counted up to 15 nest sites, and about 25 individuals present, a few of which were identified as immature non-breeding birds. We made further visits as the season progressed -  our ‘year’s best estimate’ of 13 occupied nest which was submitted to the British Trust for Ornithology makes it one of the largest heronries in Cornwall. We shall continue to monitor this heronry annually

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At Low Water, Readymoney Cove reveals many rockpool treasures and we organize events for children and adults alike, to come and discover them with us. Several volunteers have been lucky enough to receive training in species ID, organizing events and much more, from the Marine Conservation team at Cornwall Wildlife Trust. There is ongoing support and involvement from CWT with other marine projects going on which we are informed about and welcomed to take part in.

We run a series of rockpool events during the year – usually timed for school holidays. We venture further afield sometimes – to Spit Beach, Par, for example and we also run events for schools when requested to do so.

It’s a really fun thing to help with and even those who come along feeling they have little or no knowledge are liable to get hooked and want to learn more.

There is plenty for the more experienced volunteers to do with surveys and recording particularly. For example, last year a Stalked Jellyfish was found at Readymoney – this is a Biodiversity Action Plan species and at Spit Beach we found Honeycomb Worm – a BAP Habitat species.

Contact us to join in!

You will be made very welcome!

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FoFE  volunteers are monitoring two sites within the estuary area which are registered with the National Dormouse Monitoring Scheme. One of our volunteers is monitoring a further site for the National Trust which is also within the estuary.

The first site, in the Fowey Harbour Commission’s Hall Walk Woods, has been refurbished and is being checked twice-yearly but so far without recording any Dormice. Nests have been recorded in the past and quite possibly there are Dormice living in the hedges and brambles in natural nests. The site is on part of the south bank of Pont Pill. We shall continue to monitor there for a while as it is known that if Dormice are in the area, as seems likely, they could decide to make use of the boxes at some time.

The second site is at Lantyan in a wood owned by the Woodland Trust. We have also refurbished this site as it was quite productive for a few years and then the recorder was unable to continue and the boxes left to rot from about 2004. When we put the new boxes up in December 2013, there were nests in two of the old dilapidated boxes so we are hoping there will be uptake in the new ones. At the last visit, there were Tit nests in over one third of the boxes and in 3 boxes there was evidence of Dormouse presence because strands of Honeysuckle bark were found in them. Dormice favour this to weave there nests.

The third site is in a similar situation to Hall Walk Woods being in woodland on the south bank of Penpol though the habitat differs slightly and Dormouse are being recorded there albeit in small numbers.

We are always pleased to have interested folk coming along when we check boxes so please let us know and you will be kept informed of Dormouse matters.

Artificial Osprey Nest Project

Osprey are seen around the Fowey Estuary area and in the river and creeks every year but have not bred here in the recent past.

On Monday evening, 2 March 2015, in a very comfortable room kindly provided by Trenython Manor, our Fowey Osprey Project

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Next Volunteer Meeting  

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 29th April at 7pm at the Fisherman Arms Golant. A chance to find out more about the surveys and projects we're involved in. EVERYONE WELCOME.

                 Minutes of last meeting CLICK HERE   

                                        Minutes of  previous meetings meeting CLICK HERE    

We began by setting up a talk about otters by Dave Groves of the Cornwall mammal Group to inform members who had not studied otters previously. We hope to join, or at least mirror, the  the proposed Coastal Otter Project but until this thisoing we have started by ourselves.


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