The coastal inshore waters of the Roseland became a Special Protection Area just over a year ago. Now in January, 2019, I am aware that large Mackerel and Pilchard shoals are returning, which in turn are attracting Common Dolphins and Porpoises in significant numbers, together with huge Blue-finned Tuna and Atlantic Grey Seals, as they search for food in Gerrans Bay and the Carrick Roads.
Wintering Seabirds from their breeding grounds mainly in Iceland, Greenland or Northern Scandinavia are here in larger numbers than previously, though they also fluctuate daily. The SPA was created to protect 3 species of these rare (Schedule 1) birds: – the Black throated Diver, (the UK’s most important site for this overwintering bird), Great Northern Diver and Slavonian Grebe which all feed underwater, chiefly on fish, crustaceans, molluscs and water insects. Our bay is ideal for them with its clear water, its generally sandy bottom and abundant food. Let’s hope it stays that way as so many local volunteers attempt to continually battle against plastic and discarded waste on our shores.
Tips on how and where to get a sighting
Observing the birds, the shoals or the cetaceans is difficult as they usually remain at least a quarter of a mile out, although occasionally odd birds come nearer the shore. Be patient as the birds and cetaceans submerge to feed without splashing, remaining under for between 15 seconds and 3 minutes. Use binoculars to scan across the bay slowly and pick a day when the water is calm, and the sunlight is behind you for your best chance of seeing them.
Focus along the Carne surface of the sea towards Nare Head, or towards Porthcurnick from Pendower upper car park. To observe from the Carrick Roads, view from Turnaware, Messack Point or from the St.Mawes to St .Just in Roseland coastal footpath, looking towards Mylor. There you may see small rafts of Black-necked Grebes, yet another schedule 1 species!
We are truly lucky to have such a wonderful environment around us.
Upcoming Wild Roseland Walks and Talks – dates for your diary
Note that all events are free but a small donation of £3 would be welcomed.
Thursday 14th February – Improving Your Photography: Landscape and Wildlife
Our next event will be a presentation at 7.00pm on Thursday 14th February in the Memorial Hall, St Mawes on “Improving Your Photography: Landscape and Wildlife” by David Chapman, probably best known for his photographs and monthly articles on Wildlife in “Cornwall Today” magazine; and his local books of Cornish walks and recognition books on wild flowers illustrated with superb photographs. So, budding photographer or not, please come along.
Wednesday 20th March – Mammals of Cornwall
An evening on the Mammals of Cornwall, presented by Dave Groves, Chair and co-ordinator of the new SW Coastal Otter project in which we will be taking part. Wednesday 20th March, 7pm, Ruan Reading Room, Ruan Lanihorne.
Sunday 24th March – Shore Search Techniques Session
Matt Slater, Marine Awareness Officer, is leading the first Marine Project event in 2019 by coming to Portscatho to train volunteers in two of the Shoresearch Survey methods. Sunday 24th March is the day to save! There will be a morning theory session followed by an afternoon spent on the shore at Porthcurnick. The fun will start in the Memorial Hall on Gerrans Hill at 1000. We’ll finish between 1530 and 1600. Places are limited so booking is essential please contact Christownsend624@gmail.com to reserve a place and get more details. Please note: no under 11s and under 18s must be accompanied by adult. No dogs.
Tuesday 16th April – Barn Owl Boost survey
In April there will be an evening on our Barn Owl Boost survey. We are extremely fortunate to have as our speaker David Ramsden, OBE. founder and Chair of the Barn Owl Trust who is a national authority on the species.
Saturday 27th – Sunday 28th April Photographic Exhibition
Article by David Hall. Images by David Hall
Edited by Tara Robinson.
Wild Roseland is a group of volunteers who care passionately about looking after the nature and landscape of the Roseland peninsula in south Cornwall. Through a number of initiatives and projects, the aim is to inspire and enhance the conservation of this special place for all.
References and links
Wild Roseland – http://www.wildroseland.org/
Enjoy more Roseland wildlife and landscapes – visit Sarah Vandome’s Heart of Roseland Facebook feature: