The Isles of Scilly Environmental Trust

New Book Published
April sees the launch of a new book about the natural history of Scilly. It is written by Patrick Coulcher, who presents an expert and enthusiastic look at the Islands. He describes the rich wildlife and beautiful countryside and also includes some of the exciting history of the Islands throughout the ages. He has already produced other acclaimed books about natural history. This new book is very informative with many excellent illustrations and photos. It is titled ‘The Sun Islands’, is in hardback and will sell for £17.95. Patrick has generously offered to give the Trust half the royalties from the sale of the book, as his way of helping to protect the special nature of Scilly. Copies of the book can be obtained from the Trust Office. 

Control of Seaborne Litter Needed
St. Mary’s has received a complete pre-season clean-up of the beaches around the Island. Almost everything picked up had washed in from the sea and most of it will have been thrown over the sides of ships at sea. Until there is more control over sea pollution, it will be impossible to stop this unwanted rubbish. Luckily, Scilly collects less of the seaborne litter than many mainland sites, but it is galling that many ships still dispose of their rubbish ‘over the side’ with impunity. We thank Carol Drage for organising this very successful two day clean-up and all the volunteers who helped. It is encouraging that so many people care about the Islands – we were even joined by several people who were on holiday. It has taken David Mawer (Conservation Warden) more than two days to round up all the piles of rubbish and dispose of them. This is part of the plan to keep our beaches in pristine condition and in April we will be carrying out similar exercises on some of the uninhabited islands.

During the beach clean, it was disappointing to find several locations where people have dumped builders rubble near to beaches. It is sometimes done in the mistaken belief that it acts as a sea defence. There is a shortage of hardcore and much of the dumped material would have been ideal for using in footpaths had it been offered to the Trust.

Land Management
The winter and spring have been a very busy period of land management. Several areas of gorse scrub have been removed to allow the native flora to re-generate. Cutting takes place during the winter months to keep clear of the breeding season. However, virtually no birds breed in gorse and the number of birds in an area tend to increase when the gorse is removed. There is already a strong growth of the original flora in the cut areas and we have also taken steps to protect a site of English Bluebells on St. Mary’s by employing a flash burn of the built up bracken litter. A number of improvements have been carried out at the Higher Moors Nature Trail with the removal of several old barbed wire fences and a number of concrete blocks. The remaining path from the first hide to Porth Hellick Bank is to be completed during April, which will create an all weather path through the whole length of the trail.

Sites and Sightings
We are still keen to hear of any sites where Japanese Knotweed is growing and David Mawer is noting increased bat activity – please continue to report sightings of bats around the Islands.

For more stories
Link to Homepage
Link to Flowering Scilly
Link to Museum News
Link to Bird Watch
Link to Millennium Bug
Link to Notes
Link to Damned
Link to Tresco Gardens
Link to St.Mary's Theatre Club

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