Discover St Austell’s local wildlife

St Austell is blessed with many trees, parks and gardens and this green aspect provides habitats to a wide variety of wildlife.

Walking through Menacuddle Woods, St Austell
image-157

Walking through Menacuddle Woods, St Austell

The China Clay District has seen major changes over the last few years with the planting of a million broad leaved trees on the waste tips. Called the China Clay Woodland Project and completed in 2008, this has created wonderful habitats for wildlife from what was mining wasteland. The Clay Trails provide access through these areas creating a new and exciting environment to explore on foot, bicycle or horse. Species such as conifers and rhododendron have been removed and replaced with tree species native to Cornwall – mainly oak, ash and birch with smaller amounts of mountain ash, holly, hazel and hawthorn returning these areas to habitats that can support rich ecosystems.

There are several areas near St Austell that are managed by various bodies concerned with protecting the environment.
The Cornwall Wildlife Trust looks after Prideaux Wood near St Blazey which is home to the rare Greater Horseshoe Bat, Tywardreath Marshes and Ropehaven Cliff Reserve on the Black Head.
The Woodland Trust looks after Kings Wood near London Apprentice; a 400 year old ancient woodland. Bluebells cover the slopes in spring, and a good variety of butterflies including the holly blue are common in the summer.
Local Nature Reserves include
Par Beach Local Nature Reserve made up mostly of sand dunes,lagoon and reed beds and is an important stopover for over wintering birds and birds in passage.A great site for bird watching especially in the Autumn and Spring.
The National Trust own the two headlands bordering St Austell Bay; The Black Head and The Gribbin. Both these headlands are protected from development enabling wildlife to flourish.

Below is a list of just a few of the varieties of fauna and flora that can be found in this area

Just test table
no head1
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)Roe deer live in woodland preferably with open patches of ground with access to the edges of fields. Their coat varies from a reddish brown to grey or even black in winter. Very shy creatures so count yourself lucky if you spy one.
2 row2col1
3 row3col1
4 row4col1

{| border=’0px’
|+
! !!
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_roedeer.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
|
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_squirrel.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)”’
An alien species brought over from America to the detriment of our native red squirrel. Commonly seen in woodland, parks and gardens.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_horseshoebat.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Greater Horseshoe Bat”’
This rare bat likes to live in the many disused mine shafts around this area and have a breeding site at the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve at Prideaux Wood.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_soaysheep.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Soay Sheep”’
These timid sheep look more like small goats and come from Scotland’s Island of Soay. They were introduced to the China Clay area about 30 years ago to graze on the slopes of the tips.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_orangetipbutterfly.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Orange Tip Butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines)”’
Just the male has orange tips to his wings, both male and female have mottled undersides. The orange tip tells predators that they are highly distasteful.Look out for Orange tips in gardens, hedgerows and meadows between April and July.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_paintedladybutterfly.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Painted Lady Butterfly (Cynthia cardui)”’
This pretty butterfly is a lot tougher than it looks, emigrating to and from Northern Africa in the Spring and Autumn.Large numbers have been seen in Cornwall in 2009.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_hawkmoth.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum)”’
Named after its resemblance to a hummingbird, with its rapid hovering motion as it feeds on the nectar of flowers.Look out for this exotic visitor from Africa in the summer months.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_beautifildemoiselle.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo)”’
45mm Found near streams and rivers with coloured wings and a metallic green body. Flight is fluttering similar to a butterfly.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_wildlife_woodpecker.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Greater Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)”’
Striking black and white with a distinctive bouncing flight and clings to tree trunks. Often announced by its loud call or by its distinctive spring ‘drumming’ display. Found in woodlands such as Luxuylyan Valley or Menacuddle Woods.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_egrit.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Little Egret (Egretta garzetta))”’
Look out for the little Egret along estuaries such as the Fowey River where it feeds on fish. A small heron with black legs and yellow feet and attractive white plumage.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_jackdaw.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)”’
A small sociable black crow with a grey neck and pale eyes. Can be seen in fields, woods parks and gardens all around St Austell.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_buzzard.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Buzzard (Buteo buteo)”’
With their broad wings and rounded tail, the buzzard can be easily distinguished as it soars gracefully overhead. Often can be seen sitting on telegraph poles by the roadside. Plumage is dark brown above and mottled brown below. Feeds on insects and small mammals.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_herringgull.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Herring Gull”’
Herring gulls are large, noisy gulls found all around our coast, they are scavengers so watch out when eating your pasty or ice cream outdoors!
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_horsetail.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)”’
A primitive plant often used as a medicinal herb. Has dark green hollow jointed or segmented stems. Can be found growing by the White River at West Bridge, St Austell.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_bluebell.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) ”’
A perennial that grows in spring from bulbs that stay in the soil over winter. The shoots emerge from early January in woodland, before trees leaves block a large proportion of the available sunlight.Commonly found in woodland all around the St Austell area.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_redvalerin.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber)”’
This plant comes originally from the Mediterranean but is now prevalent throughout Cornwall growing on cliffs, hedges, walls and waste ground. With its crimson flowers open from early summer to late Autumn it is loved by bees and butterflies alike.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_wildlife_adder.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Adder (Vipera berus)”’
Easily recognised by its bold zig-zag stripe down its back. Britain’s only snake with a poisonous bite so treat with respect! Likes open habitats – moorland, sea cliffs and open woodland.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_commonfrog.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Common Frog (Rana temporaria)”’
6-9cm in length with smooth skin and variable skin colour. Often ventures far from its breeding pond and can be found almost anywhere between May and October. During the winter by breathing through its skin it can hibernate underwater beneath decaying leaves and mud.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_pipfish.jpg‎]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Pipefish (Syngnathus fuscus)”’
The name accurately describes this fish, three species of which can be found under stones when rockpooling in the St Austell Bay area. They have an unusual breeding habit; the males have a brooding pouch in which the female lays her eggs.The male then looks after the eggs until they hatch.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_snakelock.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Anemone snakelock (Anemonia viridis)”’
Found on the south coast in rock pools, distinguished by its long flowing tentacles, often bright green sometimes with purple tips.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_cowrieshell.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Cowrie Shell (Nun Shell)”’
A tiny, egg-shaped shell, with a ridged porcelain surface, and distinctive central lip. Try searching for these beautiful shells at high tide lines on beaches around the Cornish coast.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_starfish.jpg‎]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Common Starfish”’
10-30cm long, starfish are easily recognisable by their five arms and orange colour. If a starfish loses an arm it can regrow another one. Starfish eat mussels, crustaceans, worms and other echinoderms. If its prey is too big it can push its stomach out of its mouth to digest it! Look out for starfish in rockpools at low water.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_cornishsuckerfish.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Cornish Sucker Fish”’
Occurs on rocky, seaweed covered shores, particularly among small boulders. Most common in the intertidal zone amongst the algae.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_baskingshark.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Basking Shark”’
The second largest fish in the world, like their larger counterpart – the whale shark – they feed on plankton. Regularly seen off the coast of Newquay. They can grow to over 10 metres in length and weigh over seven tonnes. The basking shark often appear around the coast of Cornwall in the summer to feed on plankton. Cornwall Wildlife Trust have been conducting a survey of the number of Basking Sharks to be found here in 2008.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_blenny.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Common Blenny”’
A typical rock pool fish, has slimy, scaleless skin and colour varies from grey, to olive-green and brown to provide camouflage against birds.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_weeverfish.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Weever fish”’
Weever fish have poisonous spines on their dorsal fin. Watch out at low tides if walking barefoot – if you do get stung by a weever fish, it can be very painful; a remedy is to soak the sting in very hot water to reduce the pain or seek medical advice. They are long (up to 37 cm), mainly brown and have poisonous spines on their first dorsal fin and gills. They like to bury themselves in the sand and catch their prey as it comes past – small fish and shrimp. They lack a swim bladder and as a result sink as soon as they stop actively swimming.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_mackerel.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Mackerel”’
A silver-bluefish with black and iridescent barred colouration. They have a very streamlined body with a deeply forked tail.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_ballanwrasse.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Ballan Wrasse (Labrus bergylta)”’
The most frequently seen fish on the Cornish coast. Young Ballan wrasse can be seen in shallow water and rock pools and are often bright green in colour. They have protuding lips and Very strong teeth to eat small crustaceans and molluscs.
|-
| [[File:St_Austell_Wildlife_redgurnard.jpg]]
| [[File:St_Austell_30pad.gif]]
| ”’Red Gurnard (Trigla cuculus) ”’
Deep red in colour, this fish prefers deep waters on the south and west coasts of Great Britain.They are bottom feeders and use their pectoral fins to search the seabed for food. A favourite fish to eat by many Cornish people.
|-
|}

—-