February 24th

February 25th, 2018

First dedicated combo plastic/wildlife cruise, with the wonderful support of four Exeter University groups and societies.. Student Seaquest Group, EcoSoc, WildDocSoc and University Beach Cleaners. We carried out 4 separate, fully documented and recorded dedicated GPS coordinated plastic tow transects, where we specifically collected eight separate water samples from the two towed plankton/plastic nets which are being sent straight back up to the University laboratories to be examined and analysed.. fascinating and so intriguing.. results to be published soon from their findings.

We were also able to thoroughly enjoy and document all the outstanding wildlife around us on this inaugural dedicated combo plastic/wildlife cruise. We were confined within the fabulous sheltered waters of the vast Fal Estuary which actually gave us one of our intended areas to be sampled and monitored as these specific dedicated cruises will be running on a twice-monthly basis so we can repeatedly collect water samples and wildlife data from the same areas over the course of the year, both within the estuary and when the weather allows offshore. Gyllyngvase Beach, which is happily so often beach cleaned locally, and where good hard data on all the various items of plastic, both micro plastic and to the much larger items of plastic have now been collected, will be on our list of areas within Falmouth Bay where we will be conducting our tows. The comparisons from what is being retrieved from the beach cleans to what we retrieve during our plastic tows, and resulting collected water samples, will be fabulous, fascinating and intriguing.

Although we were confined to the Fal Estuary yesterday due to the strong and bitter east south easterly winds, the sheer diversity of wildlife was outstanding and we were able to document and record one of our target species.. those tiny endearing and stunningly beautiful Black Necked and Slavonian Grebes which the SPA Special Protected Area from the Helford Estuary to St Austell Bay has be designated for, along with their bigger cousins, the Divers.

I know I have been repeating myself recently in my posts regarding wrapping up warmly, but please, please do, as it is bitterly cold and chill factors are also very much coming into play now too, with this next bout of Siberian weather about to hit us. Thermal layers are best along with full waterproofs, hats and gloves, and a thermos of hot choc or soup, both warming and delicious to sip on. Try not to wear jeans or anything tight.. loose baggies and layers are the very best way to keep you all warm and cosy. Looking forward to sharing lots more exciting wildlife adventures it’s you all and the results from thus our inaugural combo dedicated plastic/wildlife cruise.

Four documented and GPS recorded plastic sampling tows completed within the Fal Estuary giving us eight separate individual water samples, 9 Atlantic Grey Seals, high count for the estuary, with several right up the top end.. brilliant, +-90 Fallow Deer from three separate sightings, 9 Red Deer Hind, 2 Black Necked Grebes, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Red Necked Grebe, 2 Common Scoters, 7 Red Breasted Mergansers, 3 Buzzards, 2 Ravens, 15 Egrets, 4 Herons, 36 Mute Swans, 25 Shelducks, 14 Teals, 18 Redshanks, 7 Greenshanks, +-69 Curlews,  +-37 Oystercatchers, 14 Gannets feeding within the estuary, Razorbills, Common Gull

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