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Monday, 28 July 2014

Bude Marsh and Survey Group Visits Tiscott Wood.

Most people hardly notice the wood opposite Tiscott Recycling Centre north of Bude as they speed along the A39.  It is a wooded habitat rare in North Cornwall that we were determined to investigate.  So on the 17th July, we arranged to meet.

With the agreement of
Dept 26 Bude Mountain Bikers Riders, who suspended their use of their circuit in the wood for our visit, nine of us walked from the junction of A39 with Ivyleaf Hill to the Iron Age fortification and back in a long lazy loop covering mixed deciduous and evergreen woods, open glades and rides.  The date was purely fortuitous but on the hottest day of the year so far, we were walking in cool shaded woodland with the occasional sunny glade.

Slime Mould - Leocarpus fragilis
In the narrow dark section close to the A39, we expected little, but were soon noting species:- the delicate flowers of the delightfully named Enchanter's Nightshade and the bright almost luminous yellow of the Slime Mould Leocarpus fragilis, The Common Earthball Scleroderma citrinum and a Robin.

 Common Earthball Scleroderma citrinum
The wood is home to a large number and diverse species of plants, invertebrates and birds.  We were fortunate to see many of each group although the birds were elusive we did hear Chiffchaff and see Firecrest and Willow Warbler. 

Many flowers were recorded, but Oxford Ragwort and Wood Sorrel were particularly notable.

The invertebrates took pride of place with Red Admiral, Green-veined White, Ringlet, Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood noted.  We rolled a few logs to look for invertebrates and were lucky on one occasion to see Julida, or snake millipedes and a pair of Lithobious variegatus centipedes with their distinctive purple banded legs.

Sightings of the day must go to our 5 minutes watching a female Southern Hawker, patrolling a woodland ride who refused to settle and be photographed and later a Golden Ringed Dragonfly.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Seasearch at Northcott Mouth

Seasearch volunteers
Honeycomb Worm reef on SS Belem
I joined other local members of Cornwall Wildlife Trust Tamar Group, North Cornwall National Trust staff and Marine Biologists from Cornwall Wildlife Trust for a PANACHE Shoresearch survey  on Wednesday 16th July.

Celtic Sea Slug, Greenleaf Worm on
Honeycomb worm reed

Matt Slater, CWT Marine Awareness Officer led the group to identify and locate particular species whose presence will provide strong evidence in support of the proposed Hartland Point to Tintagel Marine Conservation Zone.

Some of the species were found and recorded and will help the case once full consultation begins. Of particular interest is the highly regarded, and protected, Honeycomb Worm reefs (Sabellaria alveolata) which is a feature of our local beaches.
Beadlet Anenome
Spiny Starfish
This part of the North Cornwall coast from around Widemouth to Hartland is the most northerly extent of its range and occurs where rocky outcrops and lots of sand meet. The reefs provide safe homes for the delightful Celtic Sea Slug and Greenleaf Worms. An unusual site for Honeycomb worm was on the remains of the SS Belem.

Other species seen and noted were – Spiny Starfish, Strawberry Anenome, Snakelocks Beadlet Anenome, Purple and Toothed Topshells and Shore Crab.

A flock of 25 Oystercatchers performed aerial maneouvres as we encroached on their feeding territory and wheeled away to the south.

Flock of Oystercatchers 
A good afternoon out on the beach with a real purpose, to gain protection for this unique habitat with great diversity.