Our visit to Churchtown Farm Reserve

It is going to be very difficult to write a short report on our visit but I will try... 

At the viewpoint JB

First, the weather was perfect; the cloud edged in right at the end but we had glorious sunshine and the estuary sparkled.

Secondly, Peter Kent, who is Cornwall Wildlife Trust's East Cornwall Reserves Manager, gave up a good few hours of his Sunday to show us around the reserve. (Thank you to Peter) 

And the rest? Well, eighteen of us started up at the viewpoint with its tactlile interpretation board; then Peter took us down towards Forder Creek and the viaduct. We passed some of the arable fields sown to provide seed in winter when thousands of finches descend onto the reserve to feed. Tony indulged in some hunting for signs of vole and 

Green-veined White GN

Gill photographed a pristine Green-veined White butterfly resting in some shade. I noted the amount of White Dead-nettle flowered along the hedges, a sign of more neutral soil.

From the quarry a small group veered off to successfully find some otter spraint; also some off Point Field where we settled for lunch. Mary identified the buttercups as 'bulbous' and some hedgerow blossom as 'bullace' rather than blackthorn which is earlier. In a newly sown arable field Lisa spotted a Wheatear, a first for the site so Peter was very happy!

As expected the views around were fantastic. The efforts to encourage dog walkers to pick up any mess seem to have been effective so congratulations to all concerned.

And my apologies for getting muddled over Butterbur (Petasites hybridus, unscented, flowers before leaves) and Winter Heliotrope (Petasites fragrans, scented, flowers up with leaves). 

It would be a good idea to make another visit in winter to see the over-wintering birds and I am sure several of us will re-visit. There is a geology walk in May and a flower walk in August run by the Friends of Churchtown Farm so keep an eye on their web-site.

In the quarry GN  Trematon Castle JB 

We finished with tea and cake and the donations collected have been forwarded to CWT for their reserves fund.

Peter has suggested other east and north Cornwall reserves that we could visit next year.   

Thank you to everyone for such a successful day!                                              (Photos from Gill & Jen)

Lunch in Point field  Vole sign hunting GN  Bullace blossom  JB  White Dead-nettle JB  Tactile information board GN  Arable mix for birds JB Species list seems limited, sure there was a lot more...!  

Species Seen:
Mammals: signs of otter and rabbit. Birds: sparrow hawk, blackcap, chiffchaff, stonechat, whitethroat, wheatear. Butterflies: holly blue, speckled wood, whites inc. green-veined. Moth: brown silver-line. Plants noted: elms in fruit, cow parsley, rough chervil, hogweed, hawthorn, arum, ramsons, bluebell, dogs mercury, bulbous buttercup, apple, bullace, gladwyn iris, wild gladiolus, butterburr, common vetch, soft shield fern, black spleenwort, wall rue, maidenhair spleenwort,