Stithians Hide Re-opens

We are happy to be able to let you know that the necessary maintenance work on the boardwalk at the Golden Lion Hide at Stithians Reservoir has been completed thanks to Jeremy Fielden of South West Lakes Trust and a team of Cornwall Birds members, Adrian Lea, Simon Van Hear and warden John St Ledger. The hide is now open and the roof and guttering will be replaced in the near future.

Stithians Hide Closure

Unfortunately the Golden Lion Hide at Stithians Reservoir will be closed until further notice. This due to maintenance work to the boardwalk path being required as it is currently unsafe. Work is also planned to replace the leaking roof and guttering.
This hide is owned by South West Lakes Trust they have been informed of the issues. The hide is now padlocked and there is barrier tape across the access path. Cornwall Birds will work with SWLT to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. In the meantime please respect the ‘No Access’ signs.

Dipper Survey – tetrads to be covered

Dipper – Alex McKechnie

To date 59 of the 92 Dipper Atlas tetrads have been allocated, spread between 26 volunteers. There’s plenty more if you include grey wag but if I could get all the Dipper tetrads covered that would be fantastic. If those of you that have not yet volunteered could please consider taking on one or two that would be very helpful. Maybe also forward to anyone you think might help.
Waiting to hear from some but at present gaps are:-


Let’s see if we can get them all done this year!
Many thanks

Port Quin Seaweed Farm

David Collins, our Ecology Officer has commented for Cornwall Birds on the MMO consultation, 23 Feb 2024 as follows:

I am writing to express my concern about the proposed Seaweed Farm in my role as Ecology Officer for Cornwall Birdwatching and Preservation Society. The Society is a registered charity with over 1,000 members.
Having considered the relevant environmental documents that were submitted with the application, I note that impacts on the Pentire Peninsula SSSI have been dismissed on the basis that both of the proposed seaweed farming areas are more than 500m from it. I assume this is on the basis that the relevant Impact Risk Zone for the SSSI is 500m. We do not support this assumption because the SSSI is important for breeding seabirds which will be feeding much further from the SSSI during the breeding season, including the areas proposed for this development.
The Pentire Peninsula SSSI is, amongst other things, designated for its breeding seabirds. The SSSI citation mentions Guillemot and Razorbill as species for which the site is important. We are aware that Mouls Island, which is the part of the SSSI closest to the proposed development, is of particular importance for both these species. It is also the only site in mainland Cornwall for small numbers of breeding Puffin. All three of these species will be travelling much further than 500m to find food for their young during the breeding season, and will be using the bay at this time as well as during other seasons. We would therefore expect the application to include consideration of the potential effects of the proposed development on these species. Should there be any negative effect on the feeding of auks as a result of the development, this would be detrimental to the status of the species within the SSSI.
Given the presence of the SSSI and the marine species it supports, we are surprised to note that there appears to have been no consultation with Natural England.
We are aware that there is limited information available on the effects of this type of development on seabirds in general. A recent paper (Corrigan, S; Brown, A.R.; Ashton, I.G.C.; Smale, D.A. and Tyler, C.R Quantifying habitat provisioning at macroalgal cultivation sites. Reviews in Aquaculture 2022; 14; 1671-1694) suggests that these sites may provide additional foraging for seabirds, but that they could be displaced due to construction and operation activities. Hence it concludes that the effects are uncertain – there simply isn’t enough information to know what the effects would be.
Due to the importance of this area for breeding auks, and the fact that the auk colonies are within an SSSI, we therefore request that the effects of the proposed development on these birds is properly considered before the planning application is assessed. Furthermore, we suggest that detailed consultation with relevant staff in Natural England is undertaken, as is required where a planning application has the potential to significantly affect species that are protected by that designation.

Gerrans Bay Planning Application

Cornwall Birds regularly monitor planning applications in the Duchy for potential impacts on birds and their conservation. Recently our attention has been drawn to an application to the MMO for two large seaweed farms in Gerrans Bay. This is an important wintering area for seabirds especially divers and grebes. It is unclear what impacts these farms may have on seabirds. Together with the RSPB, the Society will be commenting on the application registering our concerns as follows:-

  • Effects on foraging behaviours
  • Disturbance displacement (day and night/ feeding or roosting sites) though noise, light or presence of structures or people.
  • Bird strike due to entanglement or striking cables, etc.
  • Reduction in or changes in food availability due to changes in ecology/hydro morphology, etc.
  • Pollution incidents/disease/biosecurity issues.

Middle Amble Closure

The access track to Middle Amble will be closed week commencing 4th September 2023. This is to enable essential maintenance work.
A drainage pipe will be laid alongside the track and resurfacing will reduce the risk of flooding. Furthermore a stock holding pen will be built in preparation for adding grazing cattle next year.
The track will be closed for approximately a week to 10 days during which time it will not be possible to visit the hide.

Access to Middle Amble Reserve

There is no access into the reserve. However, there is a hide overlooking the site enabling good views. It is a marsh and can be very wet and muddy so Wellington boots are highly recommended. We are planning to “pipe” the stream in the lane in September and the path and hide will be closed for approximately a week. Please park in the main car park in Chapel Amble village, PL27 6EU and not by the cemetery.

From the car park go through the village with the pub & post office on your right and take the left turn signposted Lower Amble. Go past the bungalows on your left and then the cemetery on the right. There is a straight section of road with elms on both sides, towards a long white cottage. Take the footpath on the left just as you approach the cottage. At the bottom of the lane go through the 5-bar gate and follow the track around to your right. You will see the hide about 75 metres away. The door key code to the hide can be found on the members page of the website.

Bird Books for sale

Mike Spicer and Pete Clement are in the process of disposing of the late Bob Hibbett’s book collection on behalf of his widow, Ros. Books are mainly in excellent condition and, whilst mainly on birds, there are several on flowers and insects. For a copy of the complete list, please email [email protected]. All reasonable offers will be considered. 100% of the proceeds will go to his widow.

Thanks in advance,

Publicity Officer Vacancy

A vacancy has arisen for the post of Publicity Officer for the Society. This is a key officer role and a great opportunity to become involved with the running of Cornwall Birds, promoting it to a wide audience.

The Publicity Officer is expected to actively seek opportunities to publicise the Society and its activities, act as the first point of contact for media enquiries and assist with the planning of Society events.

  • Update the website with relevant society news as well as requests from other organizations that are relevant to our members.
  • Keep our social media pages and groups up to date with topical posts and where possible recruit volunteers to assist with this task.
  • Create opportunities for favourable publicity through the promotion of the Society’s activities; e.g. projects, surveys, field meetings and talks.
  • Deal with requests from the media and signpost them to the Board member best equipped to deal with the enquiry.
  • Assist with the planning and publicity of Society events, for example the AGM, indoor programme and online events.

The Publicity Officer may be a member of the Board of Trustees. It is possible that the social media content may become part of a job-share. 

Anyone interested might like first to contact the Chair or Vice-Chair for an informal chat about the role: Bruce Taggart (07704 550818), Pete Roseveare (07955 216836).

Applications detailing relevant experience should be sent to Nick Watmough ([email protected]). Closing date: 10th June 2023.

Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code

Following the recent news item on seabird disturbance we’ve received yet another report of a wildlife safari boat scattering a raft of auks off the north Cornwall coast.

Manx Shearwater – Adrian Langdon

It’s timely that DEFRA yesterday published a national Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code that provides comprehensive guidance to anyone watching wildlife around our shores.

Anyone witnessing boat disturbances are advised to photograph/ video and report the incident.