Emsworthy waits for Emsworthy’s return…
Jackie Gage introduced ‘Mire and Marshes –Wildlife Conservation of Devon Wildlife Trust’s (DWT) Newest Reserves’ in a well illustrated presentation. One of the reserves referred to was Emsworthy situated between Haytor Rocks and Widecombe. Last year a cuckoo, sponsored by Devon Birds, was tagged locally and named Emsworthy. He is currently making his way from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Jackie described her work as the South Devon Reserve Officer by improving habitats to support a number of wildlife species that need scrapes, marsh and shorter vegetation. This is acheived with the help of volunteers for scrub clearance and the restoration of walls to contain grazing sheep and Galloway cattle. This striking valley reveals displaying Snipe and Redstart as would be expected in marshland and lowland areas. Stunning fields of bluebells appear early June in fields, which have previously been wooded.
The second reserve was South Efford Marsh, near Averton Gifford, owned by the Environment Agency and managed by DWT and is slowly changing to more saltmarsh. Since being taken over four years ago when a tidal gate was installed, salt water is allowed to enter from the River Avon at restricted levels. Wildlife is beginning to colonise the mud flats and dykes and good views of the scrapes and the estuary can be seen from a newly built hide on the edge of the reserve. This supports waterfowl and waders, resident and migrant birds with evidence of Cirl Bunting and otters. Jackie showed much skill and knowledge in presenting two of the ten reserves that she currently manages.
The next talk is on 23rd March by Bruce Taggart on ‘Birds of the Tamar Estuary and Great Black Backed Gulls of Looe Island’