Brian Field 1962 – 2018

Brian Field 1962 – 2018

Brian’s serious birding in Cornwall started in 1980 when he left Northants to study at Plymouth Polytechnic. He soon developed a love for the county and its’ birds, and his friendly, generous and positive character quickly won him many friends in the West Country.

Together with a handful of other dedicated birders (who old timers called us the “Poly lads”), he was always out and about birding in the Plymouth area, often on the Cornish side of the border. Here, via the Cremyl ferry, he became a regular visitor to Millbrook, Rame and the estuaries around Torpoint and St John’s.
With the birding fraternity in the city expanding, Brian’s generosity towards younger newcomers – offering lifts, passing on news and information, helping with identification problems and organising things – earned him the nickname of “The Leader”.

It quickly became clear that just local birding wasn’t going to satisfy Brian’s wander-lust and very soon he was off on trips further afield. Scilly in particular, became a regular haunt, but the whole of Britain & Ireland was within limits for some crazy twitches! Somehow however, the pull of Cornwall was always there and trips to the legendary sites of the far South West – Porthgwarra, Hayle and St Just’s valleys always brought him back. Seawatching at Pendeen and St Ives also featured heavily on the agenda.

It was during one of his Scillies trips that Brian decided it would be possible to feed an exceptionally tame Upland Sandpiper. Armed with a tasty-looking worm, he advanced. The assembled group of birders watched with baited breath to see whether the bird would actually take it from him. Imagine their surprise when the approaching bird was offered the worm, not from his hand, but from his mouth, and plucked it clean from between his lips!
Brian was very well-connected across the country. Long before the days of web-based news services and mobile phones, he was at the centre of the “grapevine”. He’d always know someone to ring and get information on the latest rarity or directions for top sites on the next birding trip.

Cornwall provided some early memorable rarities – Britain’s first Varied Thrush & Chimney Swifts to name but two, and Land’s End airfield was the launch pad for a rickety charter flight to successfully twitch the Magnolia Warbler on Scilly.

Brian’s reputation for finding rare birds in Cornwall was growing too e.g. Wilson’s Petrel at St Ives in 1983 when it was still an extreme rarity and Blackpoll Warbler at Porthgwarra in 1988. He never lost his touch and in recent years added Red-eyed Vireo at Porthgwarra, plus Purple Heron and Hoopoe in his garden – the latter from the window while he was in the shower!

Brian’s foreign birding trips were many & varied. He visited all the continents of the world, Antarctica being his favourite, and saw over 6,800 species (around 65% of the world’s birds).

It was on his travels, that Brian met Petroushka who became his beloved wife. Married near their home in Plymouth, no-one was surprised when they moved west to Brian’s favourite county of Cornwall. Here they settled quickly, first in an old farm house near Drift Reservoir and later close to Truro in a property with grounds that they were managing as a mini nature reserve. Brian soon became a popular and respected figure in the county’s birding scene.

He was employed to undertake an RSPB survey of the breeding birds on Bodmin Moor. This enhanced our understanding of the most important area for breeding waders and upland birds in Cornwall and helped focus associated conservation work. As generous as ever, he was also a major contributor to the Cornwall Birdwatching & Preservation Society’s hide at Chapel Amble and regularly contributed records and recent sightings to the Society’s reports and website.

Brian’s love of photography never waned and he developed an envious reputation for taking great wildlife shots. His many superb images, also submitted to the Society’s, and other websites, remain testimony to this.
There was much more to Brian than birds – a successful business-man, a fluent Spanish speaker, an enthusiast for fast cars and a dedicated husband and step father. But it is for his passion for birding and his love of Cornwall that he’ll be best remembered by many.

Brian died suddenly following a heart attack at Porthgwarra where he was seawatching – pursuing his big passion, birding in his beloved Cornwall. There is no doubt that the county’s birding scene will be the poorer for his passing and he will be badly missed.

Pete Aley, November 2018

December News Page

Kuzma Minin Update: 

The Kuzma Minin has now been moved to a buoy within the Carrick Roads for further inspections and to organise salvage operations. There have been no reports of oil spills but we remain concerned if there was any damage that could result in an oil spill.

The RSPB is asking people to report any sightings of birds in that area, Falmouth Bay, the Carrick Roads, Gerrans and Veryan Bay to the CBWPS website and as soon as possible so we can help highlight any sensitive areas for divers and grebes in particular that need protecting, to the authorities in the event of any oil spill. Please also report any signs of oiled birds to CBWPS/RSPB (and also report any live oiled birds to RSPCA 0300 1234 999). Many thanks for your help and any queries do call.

Cornwall Birds in the Press: the joint walk with SWLakes and CBWPS on the 18th November made it to the local press!  A report and full species list can also be found in the field meetings reports section on the website HERE.

> – Bird Walk at Argal and College Reservoirs< .

Brian Field Tribute: A warm tribute to Cornwall birder Brian Field can be found on the website HERE

‘Seabirds Count’ Survey Update: offshore surveying completed for the year.

BiC Update: Awaiting further updates, however the 2017 report was reportedly last at section writer stage.

Pied Wheatear, Phil Taylor

2018 Cornwall County List: The Pied Wheatear at Trevose Head and the third Pallid Swift for the County (after birds in 2007 in Wadebridge and 2009 at Nanjizal) bring the county total to a provisional 299 for the year.The updated county list can be found on the website –  County List 2018

Membership Subscriptions: As per the latest Palores there will be a slight membership rate rise in the New Year. This is in keeping with rising costs and yet still represents great value for money. It should be noted that there is no need to physically post either form – members can amend their own Standing Orders (SO) online with their bank (or in branch), and Gift Aid Declarations do not require a signature – hence a scan of the form or information therein (name and address) can be forwarded on to the Membership Secretary by email.

Taking out a digital Palores (emailed pdf version) in your membership will also save the society a substantial sum which can be put towards other society aims.

Barn Owls in Cornwall: The partnership and funding from Paradise Park near Hayle will be continuing on into the future. Currently the park has funded a number of new nestboxes in the county and helped in their monitoring. The society plans to install webcams in several of these nestboxes next spring in order to share the Barn Owl love more widely with our members and Barn Owl supporters everywhere. Please click on the image below or visit – Cornwalls Barn Owls to find out more on the partnership so far –

Cornwall’s Barn Owls get more support from Paradise Park

Palores Reminder: The deadline for articles for the next Palores is 5th January. Please send content, including articles and birding snippets to Simon Marquis at

10th December Mermaid Pelagic: There will be a pelagic leaving Penzance harbour for a tour of seaduck etc in Mounts Bay next Monday, 10th December. More details will follow shortly.

Update: A successful trip with the following seen: 6+ Great Northern Diver, 7 Red-throated Diver, 2 Velvet Scoter, 30+ Common Scoter, 5 Eider Duck, 1 Goldeneye, Bluefin Tuna, Common Dolphins, and 60+ Grey Seal on St Clement’s Isle. (M Elliot)

Amur Falcon prints: Martin Elliot has produced an atmospheric picture of last years Amur Falcon, a first for Cornwall and only the UK’s second. It is available as a limited edition, signed archival giclée print. The size is A4 and will cost £28 including P+P. Prints can be bought directly from Martin on 07875 295457.


Other items – other national and global news items that we would like to bring your attention to, often as mentioned on the twitter account.

Mist nets on ebay: Ebay have been selling spring traps and mist nets on a global scale, apparently in high volume over 1400 current listings).  There is no legitimate use for small spring traps and licensed ringers source mist nets elsewhere. Please sign it, and also consider sharing it with anyone who might be opposed to this.

Petition at – Stop ebay selling mist nets online

Last Song of the Nightingale: These excellent folk are hoping to make a documentary about Nightingales, to raise awareness and inspire people to save them – before the Nightingale sings its last song. The principle applies to all our vulnerable and disappearing wildlife. Please help out if you can and watch the video:

Last Call – 2017 records requiring further information: There are a number of county and BBRC rares still requiring description or submission to the county recorder. Without the birds being submitted they will be unable to go on the county record or be published in the forthcoming 2017 BiC Annual Report. A full list and information can be found on the website HERE .

CBWPS 12 Birds of Christmas – vote now for your favourite 2018 bird photo from the Daily Sightings page over the last year at cbwpsword/12birds-of-christmas . We’ll be posting up a new selection each day, to find the 12 best pics of 2018, followed by a final vote to find your overall favourite!

Friday 7th December 2018

Pendeen Watch: 08:00 to 10:00 14 Fulmar, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Diver sp, 4 Common Scoter, 6 Manx Shearwater, 1 Great Skua, 1 Pom Skua, 1 Arctic Skua. (P Combridge) 12:45 to 15:00 – 202 Fulmar, 3 Red-throated Diver, 1 Manx Shearwater, 1 Great Skua, 1 Arctic Skua. (P Combridge, JD Swann)

Cape Cornwall: Masses of auks moving S with 1 Great Northern Diver (N), 2 Red-throated Diver, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 2 Manx Shearwater, 1 Great Skua, 1 Pomarine Skua and 3 Eider (N)  between 08:30-10:30 in a W6-8 with haily squalls. (N Wheatley)

Penzance: Black Redstart by the station, 4 Eider from the coast path. (P Coslett)

Newlyn: Black Redstart, Firecrest, 2 Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Water Rail at Sandy Cove. (L Proctor)

Withiel: 1 Dipper, 1 Kingfisher, 5 Coal Tit, 2 Blackcap, 24 Siskin, 12 Greenfinch, 1 Tawny Owl from private garden on the River Camel. (S Grose)

Charlestown: 1 m Blackcap, 1 m 1 f Green Woodpecker & 1 Nuthatch. (D Hastilow)

Hayle Estuary RSPB: 4 (ad, 2 3w, 1 2w) Yellow-legged Gull. (B Dallas, M Halliday, P Freestone)

Plaidy, near Looe: 6 Fulmar on the cliff at the breeding station. Also 1 Grey Wagtail. (D Spooner)

Fulmar – Derek Spooner

Helford River: 3 Great Northern Diver (one adult in close to summer plumage), 1 Sparrowhawk (male) over. Viewed from near Trebah beach. (J St Ledger)

Penryn River: 1 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, 36 Redshank, 28 Mute Swan. (J St Ledger)

Rosenannon: 1 Barn Owl at Borlase Farm. (S Grose)

Porth Reservoir: 3 Tawny Owl heard. (S Grose)