September 2020 News

Walks and Events: Regrettably due to rising cases and the latest Covid-19 restrictions on meeting in public and group sizes the walks and events program has had to be suspended until such a time as it is considered legal and proper to restart again. We will keep you informed of any changes.

COVID-19 Update 14th Sept: Society reserves are now open, however all hides remain closed, and the society walks and events program has been suspended until further notice. We will be publishing reports of rare birds in the County where it is felt it is safe to do so, please do continue to send in all records. See the Society Homepage for more information and a full statement from the board.

Cornwall Birds AGM: Because of the continuing Coronavirus restrictions, this year’s AGM scheduled for the 26th September will not take place. However, we are making arrangements for a ‘virtual’ AGM to be held on Friday 13th November. Further details will be posted on the website and made available in the next edition of Palores. Thanks for your understanding and any questions please contact Phil McVey secretary@cbwps.org.uk

Walks and Events: The Camel Trail Nature Walks will be starting up again this Wednesday 2nd September. Start time 10am for approximately 4-5 hours. Bring a snack. These walks cover flora and fauna as well as birds and take place every Wednesday from this September to 28th April 2021. Walks start at 10am and will be led by Jack Humphrey, Bernard Ide, Alan Taylor and Mike Scawen. Meet by the river behind Bridge Medical Centre and Wadebridge Wines, Wadebridge. Map ref: SW990724. PL27 7AH.

Society Hides: Please note that all the society hides remain closed to everyone. This is due to the current coronavirus situation and restrictions (maintaining safe distances, narrow doorways and inability to deep clean surfaces regularly). This is of course inconvenient for birders but unfortunately the situation we are in.
In most cases viewing can be carried out from nearby roadside/other locations and we of course look forward to a time when the hides can be fully open to all!

COVID-19 Update 1st Sept: Society reserves are now open, however all hides remain closed. We will be publishing reports of rare birds in the County where it is felt it is safe to do so, please do continue to send in all records. See the Society Homepage for more information and a full statement from the board.

Friday 28th August 2020

Walks and Events: The Camel Trail Nature Walks will be starting up again this Wednesday 2nd September. Start time 10am for approximately 4-5 hours. Bring a snack. These walks cover flora and fauna as well as birds and take place every Wednesday from this September to 28th April 2021. Walks start at 10am and will be led by Jack Humphrey, Bernard Ide, Alan Taylor and Mike Scawen. Meet by the river behind Bridge Medical Centre and Wadebridge Wines, Wadebridge. Map ref: SW990724. PL27 7AH.

Tuesday 29th September 1pm – Tresillian River Walk: St Clement.Leader John Cope john.cope@hotmail.co.uk 01872 865108. An afternoon walk along the river looking for autumn migrants and breeding birds. Path can be muddy so good footwear recommended. Meet at St Clements car park. Map ref. SW852439

Also on Wednesday October 28th 1pm, Friday November 27th 1pm, Monday December 14th 1pm (details as per 29th September).

Lizard Point: Melodious Warbler photographed 100 yds west along the SW coastal path from Wavecrest cafe. (D Waddington)

Pendeen (06:30-12:00): 1 Leach’s Petrel, 2 Sabine’s Gull, 2 Great Shearwater, 13 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 10 Arctic Skua, 4 Great Skua, 2 Little Tern, 5 Sandwich Tern, 8 Common Scoter. (S Rowe, G Taylor, P Clements, G Lawlor, N Sluman et al) 13:45 -17:00: Sabine’s Gull (1ad) at 14.14, 3 Arctic Skua, 5 Bonxie, 3 Sooty Shearwater, 3 Sandwich Tern, 7 Common Scoter, 77 Kittiwake (L Langley et al).

Porthgwarra: Wryneck between trevean & the stonewall. Also, Pied Flycatcher,Willow Warbler & 5 Wheatear. (M Wallace) 2 Great Shearwater, 5 Sooty Shearwater, steady passage of Manxies. (S Finch)

Marazion Marsh RSPB: fem Tufted Duck, 9 Little Grebe (8 juv), 19 Moorhen, 6 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret, c.70 Starling in roost early am. (R Veal, DK Parker)

Marazion: c.30 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 41 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone on the beach. (R Veal, DK Parker)

Lelant: 2 Bar-tailed Godwit over garden center calling. (R Veal)

Hayle Estuary: 4 Greenshank, 12 Redshank. Carnsew: 62 Dunlin, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Sanderling, 32 Ringed Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwits. Ryan’s Field: 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Kingfisher. (J Hawkey)

Porthilly Point: 1 Wheatear, 2 Raven over, 1 Kestrel, 31 Mediterranean Gull, 4 Sandwich Tern, 5 Rock Pipit, 57 Oystercatcher (S Grose)

Kingsmill Lake: 1 Cattle Egret, 11 Little Egret, 14 Greenshank, 3+ Redshank, 14+ Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 71 Curlew, 2 Whimbrel, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Teal & c.180 Black-headed Gull ( P Kemp)

Mousehole: 43 Turnstone, Dunlin, Sparrowhawk, 4 Gannet, Buzzard, 9 Shag, 5 Swallow, 3 Sand Martin. (N Sluman)

Cardinham Woods: 4 Spotted Flycatcher (2 adult, 2 young), 10+ Siskin, 4 Nuthatch, 10+ Coal Tit, 4 Goldcrest. (J St Ledger)

Spotted Flycatcher – John St Ledger

Spotted Flycatcher – John St Ledger

Sennen Cove: High tide roost with Black headed Gulls, Mediterranean Gulls, Sandwich Terns, Kittiwakes , Turnstones and Cormorant, Black-headed Gull J44C White letter on Green colour ring. Norwegian same bird as 2018 BiC p 266. (Ring info submitted) Also – Sandwich Tern white ring 36N. (Ringing info awaited – believed Netherlands) (C Richards)

Sandwich Tern – Clive Richards

Black-headed Gull – Clive Richards

Stithians Reservoir: 1 Little Stint, 2 Sanderling, 8 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank
(P Maker, R Augarde)

Minions: Pair of green woodpeckers on the Caradon Trail near Minions. (A Newsham)

Wadebridge: 1 Cattle Egret between Walmsley / Trewornan Bridge. (S Grose)

Perranuthnoe to Marazion coast path, Boat Cove: 1 Little Egret and 12 Turnstone. Trenow Cove: a roost of 7 Little Egret, c40 Curlew, at least 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Oystercatcher and 14 Turnstone, also 1 Kestrel. (T Mills)

Looe: 5 Eider. (D Sharp)

plr, djc

 

 

Wednesday 26th August 2020

Walks and Events program: We’re pleased to be able to announce that the board has decided that this can now been resumed. If you are able to lead any walks or events please contact Simon Marquis at field_meetings@cbwps.org.uk . We will post any events or walks up on the website sightings page and will update the Calendar as they come in.

Late News, 23/08, Pentire Head/Rumps: 100+ Gannets close in-shore heading west, 5 Kestrel, 50+ Linnet, 2 Wheatear, 4 Oystercatcher, 10 Shag, 2 Ocean Sunfish, 2 Grey Seal. (S Marquis)

Late news, 25/8, Porthgwarra (06:00-18:30): 4 Great Shearwater, 32 Sooty Shearwater. (S Rowe, M Hawkes)

Late news, 25/8, Downderry (07:00-09:25): moving west 192+ Manx Shearwaters, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 60 Gannets, 11 Fulmar, 6 Storm Petrels, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 16 Sandwich Terns and 1 Arctic Tern. (1845-1945): 13 Storm Petrels west. (A Payne)

St Agnes: (0630- 0900) 3 adult Sabine’s Gull, 37 Common Tern, 34 Arctic Tern, 4 Sandwich Tern, 5 Puffin, 2 Whimbrel , 1 Grey Phalarope , 1 juvenile Arctic Skua, 1 adult pale phase Pomarine Skua, 1 juv Long-tailed Skua, 3 Great Skua, 1 Great Shearwater, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 4 Sooty Shearwater, 8 European Storm Petrel, 1 Leach’s Petrel, 2 Common Scoter. (B Bosisto)

Pendeen (06:15-10:15): 6 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 2 Great Shearwaters (0822 & 0826), c30,500 Manx Shearwaters, 18 Storm Petrel, 132 Fulmar, 15 Common Scoter, 1 Turnstone, 1 Whimbrel, adult Sabine’s Gull (0740), 6 Sandwich Tern, 1 Commic Tern, 9 Great Skua, 9 Arctic Skua, 4 Razorbills, 2 Guillemot, 1 Wheatear. Also an adult Great Black-backed Gull killed a Manx Shearwater. (D Flumm) (06:00-12:00): 3 Sabine’s Gull, 6 Great Shearwater, 16 Sooty Shearwater , 17 Arctic Skua, 15 Bonxie, 3 Wilson’s Petrel (8.30, 9.10, 10.37), 1 Leach’s Petrel (11.18), 1 Grey Phalarope, 1 Arctic Tern, 13 Sandwich Tern. (S. Rogers, P Clement, G Taylor, G Lawlor, P Taylor, H Mitchell, R Wilkins) (06:00-17:00): Also 1 Wilson’s Petrel (15.25). (M Hawkes, M McKee) 1 Leach’s Petrel (10.39). Also further combined totals of 16 Sooty Shearwater, 2 Balearic Shearwater, 55 Common Scoter, 1 juv Long-tailed Skua, 32 Arctic Skua, 27 Great Skua, 69 Sandwich Tern, 9 Arctic Tern 2 Grey Phalarope, 6 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 3 Curlew. (B Mellow, M McKee, M Hawkes, S Rowe) (1700 -1800): 2 Great Skuas, 1 Pomarine Skua (17.45). (J Hawkey)

Sabine’s Gull – Nigel Rogers

Lizard Point: (07.15-09.30) 1 Pomarine Skua, 7 Storm Petrel. (D Collins)

Housel Bay: imm Garganey on the pond. (D Collins)

Coverack: 1 Hoopoe still present around gardens above Lambeage Hall, please respect residents privacy. (P Hopwood)

Croft Pascoe Plantation, Goonhilly: 3+ Spotted Flycatchers. (A Witheywood)

Hannafore, Looe:  3 Eider close to shore, 2 Sandwich Terns, 3 Oystercatchers, 2 Cormorants fishing close to shore.  Numerous Swallows and Sand mMartins still feeding. (D Sharp)

Creegbrawse, Chacewater:  4 Mistle Thrush. ( B. Toms)

Hayle Estuary: c20 Sandwich Terns. (D Cains)

Nr. St. Buryan: 1 Barn Owl (N R Rogers)

Barn Owl – Nigel Rogers

The Rumps and Pentire: 5 Fulmar, 7 Gannet, 24 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 5 Kestrel, 43 Oystercatcher, 45 Herring Gull, 5 Great Black-backed Gull, 2 Wood Pigeon, 6 Swallow, 8 Rock Pipit, 1 Wren, 2 Robin, 3 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Magpie, 5 Jackdaw, 35 Rook, 18 Carrion Crow, 3 Goldfinch, 45 Linnet, 2 Sunfish, 2 Grey Seal, 20 Small White, 1 Small Copper, 5 Common Blue, 4 Red Admiral, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Speckled Wood, 18 Gatekeeper, 15 Meadow Brown, 1 Small Heath. (M Scawen et al.)

Rock Beach: 14 Sandwich Tern feeding offshore. (S Grose)

Porth Reservoir: 11 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Coot, 1m Tufted Duck, 39 Mallard, 11 Moorhen, 62 Canada Geese, 3 Cormorant, 1 Teal, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Kingfisher (1 juv), 11 Grey Wagtail, 2 Buzzard, 1 Jay, 2 Grey Heron. (S Grose)

Gannel Estuary:1 Barn Owl opposite filling station at 8.15pm.(S Grose)

Porthleven: 1 Kestrel. (J Chesher)

Colliford Reservoir: 1 Osprey, 10 Dunlin, 18 Ringed Plover, 1 ad Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Little Egret, 2 Yellow Wagtail, c.20 Pied Wagtail. (P Roseveare)

Siblyback: 1 Hobby, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper,1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Barnacle Goose in with Canada Geese, 25 Little Grebe,1 f Tufted,1 Coot, 2 Grey Heron, 26 Cormorants, Spotted Flycatchers with young, 3 Treecreeper, 5 Chiffchaff, 9 Teal. (C Buckland)

Mousehole: 100+ Gannet, 30+ Manx Shearwater, pod of 10 Common Dolphins. (J Howells)

Penzance: 200+ Gannet, 100+ Manx Shearwater, 20+ Storm Petrel, Immature Kittiwake, 2 Guillemot, multiple pods Common Dolphins, Blue-fin Tuna. All seen from Atlantic Adventure Penzance 15:30-17:30. (J Howells)

Davidstow Airfield: 20 Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin, 2 Ruff,1 Turnstone, 3 Wheatear. (S Windle)

Ruff – Stevan Windle

Newquay: 11 Tawny Owl heard +1 presumed Road kill Bird at Trevemper Roundabout. (S Grose)

plr/sgr

August 2020 News

Walks and Events program: We’re pleased to be able to say that the board has decided that this can now been resumed (24th August 2020). If you are able to lead any walks or events please contact Simon Marquis at field_meetings@cbwps.org.uk . We will announce any events or walks on the website sightings page and will update the Calendar as they come in.

COVID-19 Update 13th July: Due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation the Society walks and events program has been suspended until further notice. Society reserves are now open, however all hides remain closed. We will be publishing reports of rare birds in the County where it is felt it is safe to do so, please do continue to send in all records. See the Society Homepage for more information and a full statement from the board.

Cornish Choughs: The Society is now maintaining the dedicated Chough sightings database for Cornwall, adding to the many thousands of records received from birders and members of the public since 2001. Please send your sightings to choughs@cbwps.org.uk including, date, place, 6 fig grid ref if possible, and notes on any colour rings observed. Another record year for Cornish Chough in 2020 with 14 pairs successfully breeding and fledging 43 chicks – the highest number so far.

Sensitive Breeding Birds: Now that the breeding season is upon us we will be resuming our policy of withholding reports of sensitive breeding (and potential breeding) birds in the County. Please keep sending in your reports as even though they may not appear on the website they will still go into the county database and thus be available for the annual report, research and conservation. Remember, the welfare of the birds comes first. The full list of species including RBBP and Schedule 1 species can be found on the website here. Please always bear this in mind when sharing information on social media too.

Birding in Lockdown: Links to Garden Lockdown Listing League and our Birding Ideas Page, helping to make the most of extra time as a result of the lockdown.

Cornwall Swift Survey 2020: Following the latest guidance from the government and based on the position of the BTO amongst others we will be carrying out and collating results from this tetrad-based breeding survey where safe to do so. Details and recording form can be found here: Cornwall Swift Survey 2020. It is likely that the survey will continue into 2021 at least.

BiC 2018: ‘Birds in Cornwall’ the Cornwall Birds County Bird Report, is now out. Over 280 pages packed full of data, information and photographs of the county’s birds in 2018, with ringing report, articles and more. Excellent work by the BiC team led by Phil and Hilary, the report comes free with CBWPS membership. The front cover depicts the Grey Catbird near Lands End, one of the standout rarities in the county in 2018.

 

Steve Madge 1948 -2020

Stephen Charles Madge was born in Torpoint on 15th January 1948. From a young age he was fascinated by the natural history which surrounded him and encouraged by a neighbour, Mr Leonard, he explored the local area, accompanied by his lifelong friend Stuart Eddy.

Steve’s birding circle soon increased, and together with Stuart, Vic Tucker, Ted Griffiths, Viv Stratton, Bob Burridge and Peter Harrison, Steve began to explore other areas in Devon and Cornwall. Viv Stratton, who lived in St Ives, tells of how the group would travel down by train, and whenever the wind was favourable at St Ives, would often stay on the floor of Mrs Stratton’s house. Vic Tucker remembers that even at such a young age it was obvious that Steve was a talented birder. He recalls a time when the group were watching gulls at Hayle, when one juvenile bird landed on the estuary and Steve immediately identified it as a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, a species which was a BBRC rarity at the time, and which none of them had seen before. When they asked him how he knew he replied that it was the only species which had black legs in that plumage! A particularly memorable day the group enjoyed together was described by Steve himself in the book ‘Best Days with British Birds’ when, after a particularly soggy night at Porthgwarra, they found a couple of shrikes, a Hoopoe, an Olivaceous Warbler, and a mystery bird which years later he realised must have been a Thick-billed Warbler!

On leaving school Steve took up a regular job as a wages clerk at the Post Office, but following a birding trip to Turkey and Iran he decided the 9-5 wasn’t really for him and, together with his close friends Stuart Eddy and Vic Tucker, he signed up as a member on a six month Oxford University expedition to Afghanistan and Kashmir to study bird migration. This trip proved to be a great success, with new migration routes mapped for many species. It was not without danger however, as evidenced by a short spell for the group in Kabul jail following a mix-up over an Eagle Owl purchased from a local. Thankfully the situation was resolved quickly because they had been giving a lift to the daughter of the British High Commissioner to Pakistan at the time, and her forceful protestations ensured that the full might of the diplomatic service intervened to set them free.

On returning to Britain Steve took up a job as a road sweeper in Torpoint, mainly he said because the route took in St John’s Lake and he could continue birding as he worked. This could only be temporary for Steve, and he began a series of seasonal jobs wardening around the country, beginning with the Calf of Man and taking in the Ouse Washes, the Inner Sea in Wales (where his accommodation was a shed with a rubber dinghy as a bed!) and Bempton Cliffs. In 1975 he became the first permanent warden at Fairburn Ings in Yorkshire, a series of lakes, scrapes and marshes created by the collapse of old mine workings. The job required all of Steve’s well known diplomatic skills, affability and genial nature, as he negotiated between the needs of the RSPB, the National Coal Board who still worked the area, and local farmers whose land had disappeared under water. It surely says something about his success there that 40 years later Fairburn Ings and the Aire Valley is one of the most important and most visited RSPB reserves in the country, hosting breeding Spoonbill, Bittern and Bearded Tit.  During his time at Fairburn Steve became a TV star when the local regional television company, Yorkshire TV made a documentary of his work as part of their ‘Lifestyle’ TV series. A memorable scene involved someone bringing an “injured” Black-headed Gull to Steve who assures them he will look after it. In reality the bird had been dead for some considerable time and was by this time beginning to smell rather bad. It was whilst at Fairburn that Steve met his wife Penny, and for an unforgettable first date, Steve decided to cook something special – a swan that had died when it crashed into some electricity pylons! Unfortunately for Steve he forgot to ask if Penny was vegetarian! He must have made an impression however as Steve and Penny were married in 1979 in Selby North Yorkshire, wearing matching duffle coats!

At around this time Steve was invited to join the BBRC, helped no doubt by some of the memorable birds he found at Fairburn during his tenure, including Collared Pratincole, Black Duck and Lesser Kestrel.

Foreign travel had always been one of Steve’s passions, and following on from his earlier expedition he was keen to explore new birding areas away from the tried and tested western European sites. In 1979 this led to him leaving his job with the RSPB and establishing the bird tour company ‘Birdquest’ with Mark Beaman. Birdquest specialised in tours to countries and places ignored by others. Israel, Siberia, Ethiopia and China were amongst the places visited. These may seem commonplace on tour schedules today, but in the 1980s the Soviet Union and China weren’t generally open to westerners, Ethiopia was a place better known for the devastating famines, and Israel was a dangerous place surrounded by hostile countries.  Birdquest became hugely successful and Steve spent much of his time abroad where his genial manner, exceptional birding skills and tact when dealing with officialdom endeared him to his clients as well as the local guides, hoteliers and the staff he got to know over his many visits. Spending time in many varied and out of the way places didn’t come without its dangers, and over the course of his career Steve was caught in an earthquake in Egypt, missed death by minutes in Central America when a small plane he was due to be on crashed in the jungle, and most famously, he got lost in the Australian Outback for fully 36 hours. He eventually found his way back to civilisation by following the calls of crows he knew to be nesting where the group he was leading were camping.

By now Steve and Penny had moved back to Cornwall, and the family had grown with the birth of his daughters Bryony in 1983 and Elysia in 1988. Steve was asked by the Workers Education Association (WEA) to lead courses in bird identification at night classes, and for many years his winter evenings were spent passing on his knowledge to eager students. He would take them out on field trips, and on one occasion he managed to find a Semi-palmated Sandpiper at St John’s Lake when attempting to show the group Dunlin.

Throughout his time with the RSPB and Birdquest, Steve had been producing pioneering identification papers in British Birds separating tricky species pairs such as Common/Spotted Sandpiper and Yellow-browed/Hume’s Warbler, mostly from first-hand knowledge of the species in the field. In China, he was the first to realise that a local race of Pallas’s Warbler was in fact likely to be a completely new species – today known as Chinese Leaf Warbler. In the early 1980s, Steve, together with Mark Beaman was commissioned by Christopher Helm to produce a Handbook to Bird Identification. This was long before the internet and the vast array of bird identification material available to modern birders. Most were making do with their old copies of Peterson, Mountfort and Hollom, or the new Shell Guide, and a comprehensive, authoritative guide was sorely needed.  The Handbook took seven years to complete, and was eagerly awaited, but publication was delayed until 1998, by which time, even Steve agreed that the book had missed its target market. The book contained all the information anyone could need to identify birds in the Western Palearctic, and both text and illustrations were sublime, but the book was too large and cumbersome to take into the field, and the ground-breaking. Collins Guide was just around the corner. However it is perhaps a measure of just how good the book is that even today illustrations are still being used in other Bird Identification guides.

Wildfowl, published in 1988, the third in the new series of identification guides from Helm fared much better and won the British Birds Bird Book of the Year. The launch party was held at Slimbridge in the presence of Sir Peter Scott, and the foreword was by none-other than the legendary Roger Tory Peterson. Wildfowl was followed by identification guides to Crows and Jays (1992) and Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse (2002) In 1997 Steve and his friend Chris Kightley produced a small pocket identification guide to the Birds of Britain and North-West Europe. This was again published by Helm on behalf of the British Trust for Ornithology. Its aim was to describe only those species likely to be found in the region, and so dispensed with vagrants, accidentals and everything east of Albania. The text was also written to appeal to beginner/novice birders in a non-patronising manner.  The book was revised and reprinted in 2002, but again it was eclipsed by the juggernaut that was the Collins Guide. Flicking through the pages today it is still possibly the single best identification guide to those just starting out in birding who may be overwhelmed by the detail in the Collins guide.

In Cornwall, together with friends such as Tony Aston, Mike Frost and Adrian Spalding,  Steve founded the Caradon Field and Natural History Society in 1985 with the aim of recording all the wildlife of the Caradon (South-east) area of Cornwall. A comprehensive report was published each year until 2011 when the club folded. Occasional publications produced by the club included The Tamar Avocets, Butterflies of South East Cornwall, and an Atlas of the Hoverflies of Caradon.

In 1993 Steve was asked to become President of CBWPS, a position he regarded as a great honour, and one in which he was active in attending as many meetings as he could, until his illness made it difficult for him to travel. He relinquished the post in 2017 but was proud to have served.

In the mid 1990’s Steve left Birdquest and joined Chris Kightley at Limosa, offering the same high quality bird tours to exotic destinations. Steve estimated that he had been to India alone at least 45 times! One of his favourite trips with Limosa involved chartering a boat to sail around the northern isles in Britain to celebrate the company’s anniversary. Luckily it coincided with the return of Albert, the Black-browed Albatross on Sula Sgeir, but his favourite bird of the trip was his one and only female Grey Phalarope in breeding plumage seen at close range as he cruised along in a RIB.

Steve’s last years were plagued by Parkinson’s disease. He was diagnosed in the 1990s but he didn’t let it affect him and he carried on birding and watching wildlife for as long as he could. As recently as 2017 he made a trip to Rwanda determined to see Mountain Gorilla. This he achieved by being carried up the mountain on his bed to a site where he could see them

Aside from birds Steve had a deep and enduring love of music and during the early 70’s was a regular attendee at the Guildhall, and the famous Van Dike Club in Plymouth where he saw early performances from, amongst others, Deep Purple, Genesis, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull. He even hitch-hiked from Plymouth to Leeds to see Led Zeppelin! His musical tastes were esoteric, and birding trips would often be accompanied by CDs of Captain Beefheart, Can, or Frank Zappa, and on one memorable occasion by a recording of Mongolian throat singers!

Everyone loved Steve – that is not an exaggeration. To know him, and to be able to say “I know Steve Madge” was an honour. In company he was friendly to all, polite and tactful. The messages of condolence on social media following the news of his death attest to the esteem in which he was held, and perhaps none summed up the feelings of those he met better than Hadoram Shirihai, who ended his message to Steve’s family with these words:

“What a man, what a birder and what a friend to remember…”

Darrell Clegg, 22/07/2020

Steve at Looe Island

A small funeral was held by the family for Steve last week in Bodmin. Donations and messages (in lieu of flowers) can be sent to https://www.love2donate.co.uk//inmemory/identify_name.php?currentpage=1&chosen=34560  – all monies go to CBWPS.

 


 

Additional comments –

I have this 3 inch high plaster of paris model of Steve that I bought in about 1980 for some fund-raising venture. Not many people could have such a recognisable tribute! – Richard Porter

S Madge figure

Social Media (Click on the link to see replies) –

July 2020 News

Steve Madge: It is with great sadness that we have to inform our members that our society president for many years, Steve Madge, passed away yesterday after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Our deepest condolences to all of his family.

His obituary can be found on the website here – Steve Madge 1948 -2020

Steve Madge at Looe

Chough Update 2020: Another record year for Cornish Chough with 14 pairs successfully breeding and fledging 43 chicks – the highest number so far. As ever, there have been some good news stories:

  • Three pairs fledging five young – the first full clutches since 2015/
  • A one year old male reared one chick.
  • Five new pairs attempted to breed for the first time and one was successful.

Many thanks to everyone who sent in their Chough sightings to choughs@cbwps.org.uk Your records were incredibly useful throughout the lockdown period in identifying pairs on territory, and now for tracking Chough families and their fledglings.

COVID-19 Update 13th July: Due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation the Society walks and events program has been suspended until further notice. Society reserves are now open, however all hides remain closed. We will be publishing reports of rare birds in the County where it is felt it is safe to do so, please do continue to send in all records. See the Society Homepage for more information and a full statement from the board.

Cornish Choughs: The Society is now maintaining the dedicated Chough sightings database for Cornwall, adding to the many thousands of records received from birders and members of the public since 2001. Please send your sightings to choughs@cbwps.org.uk including, date, place, 6 fig grid ref if possible, and notes on any colour rings observed.

Sensitive Breeding Birds: Now that the breeding season is upon us we will be resuming our policy of withholding reports of sensitive breeding (and potential breeding) birds in the County. Please keep sending in your reports as even though they may not appear on the website they will still go into the county database and thus be available for the annual report, research and conservation. Remember, the welfare of the birds comes first. The full list of species including RBBP and Schedule 1 species can be found on the website here. Please always bear this in mind when sharing information on social media too.

Cornwall Red Kite Influx 9th -11th May 2020: A relatively recent addition to the birding calendar in Cornwall has been the annual spring influx of Red Kites into the county. Read more … Cornwall Red Kite Influx 2020

Birding in Lockdown: Links to Garden Lockdown Listing League and our Birding Ideas Page, helping to make the most of extra time as a result of the lockdown. A great 13 minute video of Walmsley Sanctuary by final year student at UoE Penryn, Dylan Jackaman can now be found on the above ‘Birding Ideas Page’ – well worth a watch.

First Spring Arrival Dates: Now that most of our commononer passage and resident species have arrived in the County it is time to have a quick look at the season so far – Table of First Spring Arrival Dates 2020. We will look at an expanded list including more of the regular ‘scarcities’ as Spring progresses.

Cornwall Swift Survey 2020: Following the latest guidance from the government and based on the position of the BTO amongst others we will be carrying out and collating results from this tetrad-based breeding survey where safe to do so. Details and recording form can be found here: Cornwall Swift Survey 2020. It is likely that the survey will continue into 2021 at least.

Steve Madge: It is with great sadness that we have to inform our members that our society president for many years, Steve Madge, passed away yesterday after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Our deepest condolences to all of his family.

Friday 12th June 2020

Late News, 11/06, Treverva: 8 Mediterranean Gull, mixed age flock over north (D Chaney)

Porthilly Point: 1 Mediterranean Gull and 1 Kittiwake on the mussel crates, 71 Oystercatcher in a single flock, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Sand Martin, 1 Skylark, 3 Rock Pipit, 1 Little Egret, 2 Cormorant. (S Grose)

Charlestown: 1m Bullfinch,  2 (1 fledgling, 1m) Robin, 3 (1 juv 2ad) Blue Tit, 2 Coal Tit,  3 (1 juv 2ad) Great Tit, 4 (2 juv 1m 1f) Blackbird, 6 (2 juv 4ad) Dunnock, 1 Wren, 3 Woodpigeon, 2 Magpie, 1 Song Thrush, 4 Goldfinch, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Carrion Crow. (D Hastilow)

Robin – David Hastilow

Robin – David Hastilow

Marazion Beach: 3 Whimbrel. (J Hawkey)

Mount Hawke: 2 adult Carrion Crow feeding one young. (RB & PC Girling).

Porthilly Farm /Meadow: 40+ Sand Martin feeding over cattle field. (S Grose)

Marazion: Adult Great Spotted Woodpecker now bringing its young to my feeders. (DK Parker)

Great Spotted Woodpecker – Dave Parker

Great Spotted Woodpecker – Dave Parker

Great Spotted Woodpecker – Dave Parker

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