As the wet weather has officially joined us, it is becoming increasingly hard to access the SSSI marsh at the east of Crowdy reservoir and the surrounding area. The reservoir, which did fall to below 50% throughout the summer, is now 100% full again!

As practical site works on the marsh have come to an end for the winter season, I have been busy planning the conservation works for 2019. One of the last practical jobs to do here was to install our new signage. Nigel, our Senior Countryside Warden for Cornwall, and I have placed the sign near the dam car park (SX 138833). This spot was chosen as it is the most popular parking space at Crowdy which allows us to engage as many visitors, new and returning, as possible.

The most important part of this sign for the SSSI project is the marsh area. Crowdy was once a site that hosted a good assemblage of nesting birds, which included lapwing, snipe and curlew. Sadly, as with much of the rest of UK, this has declined dramatically. I am working with our local bird specialist, Claire Mucklow, of RSPB to ensure that we maximise the potential for these nesting birds to re-establish good populations at Crowdy.

Photo credit: RSPB

Whilst we are working with partners and completing practical conservation work at Crowdy to make the habitat more favourable, these waders also need an area which has low disturbance. The largest disturbance to this area of marsh is dogs. When nesting birds are disturbed by dogs, they flee the nest which leaves it available for predators to swoop in. The bird may also abandon this nest as they deem it to be unsafe. Therefore, we have asked that no dog walkers should enter the marsh area. The clear map on the sign shows other areas which dog walkers can explore.

The smaller A4 signs which detail the ditch blocking works have been taken down as they are now out of date. All of this work is complete and has been very successful as far as we can tell. We will continue to monitor the effects of this project with South West Water and will assist with any maintenance required in 2019.

If you would like to join in with our conservation work here, please contact me. More information on wading birds can be found on the RSPB website.

Many thanks to all of our volunteers and partners who assisted on the SSSI project last year, and we hope you have a Happy New Year!

Emma Scotney
[email protected]