Presentation on Walmsley Sanctuary, the Cornish reserve on the Camel.

Presentation to Devon Birds Plymouth Branch 1st. April, 2019

by Adrian Langdon, warden of Walmsley Sanctuary

 Cornwall was at the forefront of conservation when, in 1939, the land that became Walmsley Sanctuary was bought by Cornwall Birdwatching and Preservation Society to provide a safe haven for waterfowl and waders that were often ‘under-the-guns’ of local shooters at that time. Since than Walmsley has grown to become a crucial site for a wide variety of waterfowl and waders throughout the year and hosts large numbers of Golden Plover and Lapwing as well as Black Tailed Godwit.

Its position between Chapel Amble and the river Camel makes it well placed for birds pushed up by the incoming tides. The site comprises three hides with the Tower Hide requiring a key for access but the others being open access. The Bernier Hide looks out over the Camel estuary and is good for early morning viewing, subject to tides whereas the other hides look over the Amble Marshes.

Adrian has managed the reserve for over 20 years. His dedication and his relationships with local landowners and tenant farmers have helped to make Walmsley an acclaimed location. He related the scope of work carried out by himself and his team of volunteers to maintain the site. Careful management of water levels, creation of new channels and scrapes and monitoring of wildlife are all key elements of the work necessary.

The reserve attracts a wide range of fauna with Otters, Hares, Foxes and Dragonflies also featuring on site lists. There have been several rarities at the reserve. These include; Wilson’s Phalarope, American Bittern, Common Crane and a Tundra Peregrine. Regular visits are from Cattle Egret ( a maximum of 80 at one point earlier this year), Glossy Ibis ( a maximum group of 14 birds) and regular drop ins from Lesser Yellowlegs, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint.

Your committee visited the reserve in mid-January this year and were thrilled to see a flock of some 2000 Golden Plover and 1000 Lapwing as well as many other waders and wildfowl from the vantage point of the excellent Tower Hide. We encourage all to visit this wonderful Sanctuary, check details on the Cornwall Birdwatching and Preservation Society website and follow the link to Adrian for information about access and the key for the Tower hide.

John Lloyd

Devon Birds Plymouth Branch committee member