|Need to Replace Lost
The winter has brought with it a few surprises.
There has been a surfeit of wind and rain and this has been responsible
for some damage around the Islands. A number of trees were blown down,
particularly around Bar and Innisidgen. The loss of trees is a problem
and it is important to replace the losses as soon as possible. Over the
next few years, the Duchy of Cornwall will be planting considerable stands
of Monterey Pines to renew the shelter belts, but there is also a need
for more native species and broad leaf trees. The Trust is seeking help
to meet this requirement. Several locations have been picked out as suitable
sites for planting and two local community groups have shown interest in
helping to raise the necessary funding and assist with the planting. Scilly
originally had a far greater area of tree cover and it is necessary to
ensure that as trees are lost, there is an ongoing scheme to replace them.
Sea-Birds – Oil Pollution
Every winter there seems to be an increase
in the number of cases of birds suffering from oil pollution found on our
beaches. No oil has been seen on the sand and rocks, indicating that it
is probably some way off shore. Almost all the affected birds found on
Scilly this winter were guillemots. Sadly many of them were so badly covered
in oil that they could not be saved. Helping the birds takes quite a deal
of effort, and involves several different organisations. We appreciate
the help given by the people who have looked after birds until they can
be treated, our local Veterinary Surgeon, British International Helicopters
who have transported birds to the mainland and Mousehole Bird Hospital
who has tried to clean and save them.
Hazard Caused by Wet Weather
The Lower Moors Trail suffered from the
weather and the huge number of people wishing to see the Wilson’s Snipe
which appeared in the autumn. Some of the old path became broken up or
widened as walkers used the verges to keep their feet dry. The continuing
wet conditions have caused the path to become even more wet and slippery
and the Trust is going to remake some sections of the path this spring.
For the time being, the path is likely to remain quite wet, and suitable
footwear is necessary. In October there were queues outside the Hilda Quick
hide most days, with a strict time quota for the watchers. The bird has
been seen again recently, so it can now be viewed without the hassle of
large numbers of other watchers. The footpath remains open for use, but
anyone crossing the Lower Moors should take care in the wet patches and
where the path is being repaired. Several further areas of gorse have been
cut and some of the previous cuttings are beginning to show a great improvement.
While most of the cut wood has been collected for people to burn, there
are still a few piles waiting to be taken by anyone looking for firewood.
Japanese Knotweed Survey
The Trust is continuing to seek information
about the growth of Japanese Knotweed in Scilly and survey forms can be
obtained from the office. We hope that by knowing where the plant is growing,
it will make it possible to develop a co-ordinated approach to controlling
the plant. There has been a huge increase in the areas covered by Knotweed
in the last few years and without control it will be very difficult to
protect some of our special habitats in the near future.
David Mawer has been looking for bat roosts
and feeding activity around the Islands. We hope that any sightings of
bats will be reported to help establish the full picture of bats on Scilly.