At first glance, the yellow flowers of the Daisy family (Asteraceae), often known as 'Composites', can all look alike and may appear to be a daunting group for beginners to break into. However, once you have an understanding of the structure of the plant and the parts you need to look at, identification to species level can be relatively straightforward in most cases. This workshop will begin with a classroom session unravelling the mystery of these flowers, followed by a trip out to Porthtowan to test your id skills in the field.
Coastal sand dunes are rich in invertebrates, including beetles, bugs and butterflies, many of which are specially adapted to the habitat and cannot be found elsewhere. Dune slacks in particular are abundant in invertebrate life. In this workshop, we will begin with a classroom session introducing the variety of dune habitats and the invertebrates adapted to those environments, including the rare or scarce species to look out for in Cornwall. We will follow this with a field trip to Gear Sands, where we will survey for invertebrates in the dune slacks.
Sand dunes take up 2% of the landcover of Cornwall but contain 20% of its floral species, some of which are nationally scarce or rare. In this workshop we will learn about the wildflowers that have adapted to the unstable conditions of fore dunes, the well-drained calcareous grasslands of fixed yellow and grey dunes, and the damper dune slacks. After a classroom introduction, we will visit Upton Towans CWT Nature Reserve to examine the habitats and look for characteristic species.
Cornwall has the most amazing bryophyte flora including some worldwide rarities. They can form an important part of assemblages for NVC work as well as being fascinating and photogenic for the enthusiastic amateur recorder. This workshop intends to set anyone interested in identifying bryophytes either for their own interest or for professional work well on the way to achieving that aim with advice on equipment, techniques and where to get ongoing support.
Join us on a two day workshop devoted to learning about the wildflowers of Cornwall. We will start off by gaining an understanding of the basics of wildflower identification, breaking down the terminology and introducing you to the main families of our native wildflowers. Then, we will head out into the wild to seek out species to identify.
Our County Recorder for Bumblebees, Patrick Saunders, is leading a workshop to identify the bumblebee species found in Cornwall, both out in the field, and where necessary under closer scrutiny under the microscope. There will be classroom time with a presentation as well as an opportunity to practice survey and monitoring techniques in the field. This workshop will be useful to those who have some experience recording bumblebees and would like to refresh and extend their skills as well as the complete beginner.
The Environment Agency will be leading a workshop on Freshwater Fish identification. This will include a practical session in which participants will have the opportunity to observe electric fishing, a technique which stuns fish long enough to examine and identify them before being safely released back into the river unharmed. We will also learn about the species of fish we are most likely to find in Cornwall, including some very interesting life cycles, and the gaps in our knowledge.
The Chrysomelidae is a large family of beetles, many of which are brightly coloured, like little gemstones hidden in the vegetation waiting to be discovered. This workshop will introduce us to the family, including their ecology, life cycles and survey methods. We will be coached in the use of identification keys and shown examples of distinctive species to look out for in Cornwall.
EcoSoc members can get a substantial discount by booking via FXU.
The Angler’s Riverfly Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) helps rivers to be monitored more widely and at greater frequency than is possible by the Environment Agency alone. Volunteers take kick samples from the river bed each month, recording the presence and abundance of invertebrate groups which are very sensitive to pollution and are therefore good indicators of water quality. This free workshop aims to introduce new volunteers to this scheme.
What to Bring: Wellies, waders if you have them and lunch/drink
Booking is Essential
This course is an excellent introduction to bird watching, birds being relatively easy to see in their winter habitat. Martin Rule, freelance ecologist and British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) surveyor, will take us for a walk around the National Trust’s Loe Pool to survey the birdlife of both woodland and water, overwintering and resident. There are a variety of habitats to found around the pool including the cliff, beach and sea at Loe Bar making this one of the best sites for an introduction to a wide variety of winter birds.