May 2020 News

West Penwith Virtual Garden Bioblitz today: The Penwith Landscape Partnership is organising a ‘virtual garden BioBlitz’ across West Penwith, from St Ives to Marazion westwards. This is running from noon today (Friday 15th) to noon Saturday. They want to generate lots of biological records which will feed in to all the Cornwall recording schemes, and also celebrate the wildlife that we can all enjoy close to home whilst staying within the current CV-19 restrictions. Of course, the BioBlitz needs bird records (and they will all go to CBWPS), but PLP are urging everyone to look at everything, from ‘weeds’ and wildflowers, to insects, lichens and mammals. With the help of Derek & Sally of local environmental education and natural history training organisation ‘Budding Nature’, and other local experts and enthusiasts, they will be trying to offer identifications to anything posted on instagram, twitter or facebook with the #penwithbioblitz hashtag. They’ll be generating an overall species list of everything recorded in West Penwith over the 24 hours, and making sure that this opportunity is taken to promote and celebrate the huge diversity of wildlife which this part of Cornwall is blessed with.

PLP has created a facebook event, and there will be regular updates there, and on twitter and Instagram, but you can also get involved by email – or post! They hope lots of people will get involved. To find out more about the event, you can visit: https://www.penwithlandscape.com/events/2020-05-15/virtual-garden-bioblitz—join-us

Swift Survey Update – 11th May 2020:

This update is based on guidance from the BTO issued this afternoon. We’re sure that many of you will have watched the Prime Minister’s statement of 10 May and are now waiting to hear how this will impact on the restrictions around the Swift survey that was planned for this summer.
The full Government guidance, giving the detail underpinning last night’s statement was published at 14.00 today; this adds a lot of detail to last night’s statement, which the CBWPS board will need to digest and discuss with our partners, the BTO, CWT, RSPB, NT and others
At present there will be no change to our current position, which was outlined on 26/4 on the CBWPS website, restricting survey work to gardens or equivalent private areas, until the review is completed; we will update those who have volunteered for the Swift survey directly.
We do understand that this is a very difficult time for all of our members and we are grateful for the feedback and support received. We must ensure that we continue to look after the welfare of the wider public in the most appropriate manner, so please bear with us while we carry out this review, and thank you for your patience.

Coronavirus/COVID-19 and CBWPS Sanctions

The board have considered the constantly updated directions and recommendations to counter the spread of Covid 19/Coronavirus. In order to ensure full compliance with the restrictions outlined by the UK Government, the Board and wider Bird News Team have corresponded at great length about whether, and to what extent, various aspects of the Society requires some temporary alterations and change whilst the lock down is enforced. This has been a very difficult decision and the consensus that we have reached is outlined below:

Publication of the daily sightings page will continue, but we will only publish news of garden birds or birds seen on local dog or exercise walks. We won’t publish any news from excursions which are likely outside of these very tight but very necessary restrictions.

The Bird News Team will continue to accept your sightings (and we really do encourage you to send them in), but some records may not be published on the website as outlined above. The record of daily sightings is a fundamental part of the Society’s recording process, and even if your records do not immediately see the light of day on the website, they will form part of this very valuable resource. Note also that the selected reports in Palores are compiled from this and particularly notable sightings will continue to be reported at a later date.

It has been decided that the only compliant and safe decision is to close the Society’s hides. This will include Windmill Farm car park and access road. This will remain in effect until such time that any lock down and social distancing restrictions implemented by the UK Government are lifted.

Naturally, the Society walks programme has also been suspended. This will remain in effect until such time that any lock down and social distancing restrictions implemented by the British Government are lifted.

We hope that you’ll understand and agree with these measures and we’ll have some better news in the near future and promote ways that we can all contribute and share our garden birds with each other.

April 2020 News

Nocmigging Article by Tony Blunden: Relevant in these current times, a useful introduction to the practice of recording birds calling at night, migrants, regulars and some unexpected local birds. Read the full article here – Night Flight or Nocturnal Migration

Why Not Become a Cornwall Birds Trustee?

The Cornwall Birds (CBWPS) Trustees meet regularly to run the Society on behalf of all members. We discuss everything from the Society’s finances and membership, conservation matters, managing our fantastic nature reserves, planning publicity and events through to how we work with other organisations. We are a varied group – not everyone is an expert birdwatcher! – and a keenness to help is the most important qualification.

We have recently welcomed new Trustees, but this year three long-standing Board members, Greg Adams, John Stanlake and Phil McVey will be retiring. This means that as well as looking for general Trustees we will need to recruit an Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary for election at this year’s AGM. The Treasurer and Secretary keep the Society’s business ticking over and provide regular reports to the Board, as well as advising Trustees on non-birding matters. We would welcome interest in these two posts from any members (or family and friends) and please feel free to contact John or Phil for further information:

John Stanlake, email treasurer@cbwps.org.uk or tel 01752 848541

Phil McVey, email secretary@cbwps.org.uk or tel 01208 873300

We look forward to welcoming you to the Board!

Wintering Warbler project: A message form Laura Giles.

To all the volunteers who helped with my research by submitting their warbler sightings, I would like to say a huge thank you to all of you for your help. The project is now complete. The data showed that all six of the warbler taxa studied (firecrest, goldcrest, yellow-browed warbler, Siberian chiffchaffs and common chiffchaffs) are fairly widespread across Cornwall in winter, but particularly favour areas that are warmer than average during winter months. We also carried-out a more intensive study of yellow-browed warblers, looking at records published in the CBWPS Bird Reports, which stretch back to the 1930s. Even after controlling for observer coverage, we were able to show that the species has increased in number, which will probably come as no surprise to those who of been birdwatching in the county for some years. What was perhaps more surprising is that the link with winter temperatures was less clear-cut. While undoubtedly temperatures have warmed over the last few decades, and they do rely on sheltered valleys, particularly those close to the old filter bed Sewerage Treatment Works, they were not uncharacteristically abundant in the particularly mild years. This suggests that a westward extension in their breeding and a shift in their migratory strategy may be a more important driver of the increase in numbers. It is noteworthy that there is no a sizable winter population wintering all down the coast of western Europe and North Africa and there are not even records from as far west as Corvo on the Azores! It seems likely that the population is now sufficiently large that some return to breeding grounds and raise offspring that are more inclined to follow in the footsteps of their parents! However conformation of this is lacking and awaits further study. Nevrtheless, without your sightings this project would not have been possible, so thanks again, and stay safe! For more information about the project and the results, feel free to email me at lg461@exeter.ac.uk

Swift Survey Update 26/04: With the first Swifts now being sighted across the county and In light of the most recent Government update on travel restrictions, we would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the guidance relating to the Swift project activities.

The CBWPS position across the Swift project activities remains the same and we are still asking all members NOT to erect nestboxes or collect data for the Swift survey at sites outside the boundary of the property in which they reside. This restriction applies regardless of the mode of transport used, so covers sites that can be reached on foot as well as those to which you need to cycle/drive, and applies to solo activities in the same manner as it does to group activities. There are no exemptions for monitoring undertaken during permitted daily exercise, nor for data collection undertaken at the workplace.

We appreciate that this is a frustrating situation but it continues to be essential that CBWPS survey activities do not influence the probability of disease transmission, nor cause lasting damage to the reputation of CBWPS and our valued surveyors. We are hugely grateful to the overwhelmingly positive response from volunteers interacting with the Daily News team; it is always appreciated but particularly so at this time.

The next Government review is currently scheduled for 7 May 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation and to update you accordingly. The best time for surveying breeding Swifts is late June and July so it’s still possible that some survey work may be undertaken if there is a relaxation of the restrictions.

Continue to The Swift Survey and Information pages Here

Big Garden Sit: Organised by birders on social media @bucksalert,and now going National, this is held from 8:00 – 9:00 am every Saturday in April and May. Just sit (or stand) in your garden for the hour and record as many bird species as you can! Let us know what you saw by contacting us on the gardenlisting@cbwps.org.uk email address – we can update the national table with your results and it will be interesting to see what can be found in Cornwall …  or if on twitter contact the organisers directly yourself as above #biggardensit

Garden Bird ‘Race’ Sunday 19th April: We were hoping to run a County Bird Race this spring and we still can, albeit slightly differently. General garden birding rules apply (see page here), essentially from one minute past midnight on Saturday to midnight on Sunday, all birds seen or heard in or from your garden! If we have enough participants we will have categories such as coastal, rural or solely suburban, with virtual prizes (ie kudos) for best bird, most surprising bird-related event, most birds seen etc. Contact gardenlisting@cbwps.org.uk to register beforehand or to tell us how you got on at the time. 

Save Our Swifts Update:  We will be limited in what we can do this year. In any case please still look at what you can do with nestboxes (link page Here) and bear in mind that this project will likely now be a two year project.

March 2020 News

Save Our Swifts Update: Please note that there is a degree of uncertainty on what we will be able to achieve with the project this year. It is possible that since Swifts are late nesters we may have an opportunity to carry out surveying this year. In any case please still look at what you can do with nestboxes (link page Here) and bear in mind that this project will likely now be a two year project.

Garden Listing League: To help with those self-isolating at home, and as many of us are able to spend more time in the garden this spring, we have set up a Garden Lockdown Listing League here on the website. To take part just email your tally and updates to us. Should be a help in keeping motivation going, spending time birding and improving your garden list (you may just get hooked) in these strange times.

Birding Ideas in Lockdown: With little prospect of getting out and about in the County over the coming weeks, the arrival of nicer weather (finally) with the onset of Spring, and more free time for many, it’s important to keep our spirits up and find innovative ways to do our ‘birding’ as we face these difficult times. The bird news team have started putting together a page of ideas to help keep your motivation going and we will be looking at further ways we can engage the birding community here in Cornwall. Please follow the link >Here< for garden birding ideas, things to do and more. If you have any other suggestions for ideas or have come across any links that we can share with our members please send them to the usual bird-news.org.uk email address. Keep birding, keep safe and well!

COVID -19 Update 26/03/20: In view of the current Coronavirus situation and following Government guidance and recommendations, the Society walks program has been suspended and all CBWPS Hides are now closed until further notice. We will continue to publish Daily Bird News, but please note that this will be restricted to sightings from members gardens, local area outdoor exercise or incidental to other necessary travel purposes only, and selected reports may be published with restricted data or remain unpublished. Please continue to send in all your records, stay safe, and bird responsibly. 

COVID-19 update 25/3/2020: The Board and wider Bird News Team have corresponded at length about whether, and to what extent, the daily sightings page should continue in the light of the recent Government announcement. This has been a very difficult decision and the consensus we reached yesterday was that:

  • Publication of the daily sightings page will continue, but we will only publish news of garden birds or birds seen on local dog or exercise walks. We won’t publish any news from excursions which are likely outside of these very tight but very necessary restrictions.
  • The Bird News Team will continue to accept your sightings (and we really do encourage you to send them in), but some records may not be published on the website as outlined above. The record of daily sightings is a fundamental part of the Society’s recording process, and even if your records do not immediately see the light of day on the website they will form part of this very valuable resource.
  • Note also that the selected reports in Palores are compiled from this and particularly notable sightings will continue to be reported at a later date.

We hope that you’ll understand and agree with these measures and we’ll have some better news in the near future and promote ways that we can all contribute and share our garden birds with each other.

BTO Rookery Survey: For more details please see CornwallRookerySurvey Please note that this survey will only now be available for those who are already signed up and able to complete the survey from home or on essential travel routes.

COVID-19 update, 22/03: In view of the current Coronavirus situation and following Government guidance and recommendations, please note that the Society walks program has been suspended and all CBWPS Hides are now closed until further notice. 

Hide Closures and Coronavirus: Please note that as of yesterday, 21st March, the Society Reserve hides will be closed to members and the public alike. This is in line with Government recommendations and general guidance with regard to ‘social distancing’ and to minimise the spread of this highly contagious disease. This concerns the hides at Drift, Stithians, Walmsley, Burniere and Windmill Farm. General access to the areas concerned is not currently affected, although the walks program has been suspended until further notice. We will also be reviewing dissemination of rare bird news in the County in line with coronavirus guidelines and the safety of our members in mind.

Coronavirus update, 20/03: The board have considered the constantly updated directions and recommendations to counter the spread of Covid 19/Coronavirus. They have decided that at this time (20th March 2020) the only proper decision is to close the Society’s hides, with immediate effect and until further notice. At this time open land comprised in the Society’s reserves remains open to members who are not (by reason of age, vulnerability, contact with the disease or any other circumstance) recommended not to travel. However, that situation may change at any time, for example by reason of new advice or if members prove unwilling to respect the guidance being issued from day to day. In particular, when looking for birds (whether on the Society’s reserves or elsewhere) please respect the current recommendation to maintain 2 metres of personal space – or any future amendments or additions to it. Please check the current advice on the Society’s website and nationally before visiting any reserves,.CBWPS 20th March 2020.

Coronavirus update, 18/03: With key ‘social distancing’ measures being adopted across the country, this will impact on our own organised walks programme and until further notice all planned walks and meetings will be cancelled. The measures may also impact our upcoming surveys and we will be looking at ways in which members and birdwatchers can still participate whilst remaining safe. If you do venture out birding we advise not to share transport and suggest that you keep a safe (2m) distance from others and avoid sharing optics. But in many situations it will be possible to enjoy your birding locally and perhaps this is a good time to start a garden list or join the BTO’s Garden Bird Watch survey. We will post updates as necessary, and you can contact us here if you have any suggestions or specific queries.

Sensitive Breeding Birds: Now tha

Sensitive Breeding Birds: Now that the breeding season is close upon us again, we will shortly be resuming our policy of withholding reports of sensitive breeding (and potential breeding) birds in the County. Our first duty is to protect the birds themselves. Please keep sending in your reports, even though they will not appear on the website, as 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! Thanks for your understanding. The full list of species concerned, including RBBP and Schedule 1 species can be found on the website here. Please do bear this in mind when sharing information on social media too.

Coronavirus, COVID-19 and birding: This will likely impact on the walks programme and various bird surveys and even general birding in the county in the near future. We will be looking at ways in which to encourage our members and birdwatchers in the county to stay in touch with nature and birdlife closer to home as travel restrictions likely increase. Stay safe, sane and well. If out birding take sensible precautions when interacting with others, and see eg the gov.uk website.The situation and advice is changing quickly in the UK, we will post updates as necessary, and you can contact us here if you have any suggestions or specific queries.

Mermaid II wildlife trip: 11:00-14:00 on Monday 16th March. Report to Mermaid ticket office no later than 10:45, £25 per head, contact Martin Elliott on 07875 295457or mermaid booking office-07901731201, pay at shop or on boarding but please note trip may be cancelled if weather changes or too few book.

BTO Rookery Survey: The BTO in Cornwall are again running a Rookery survey this year. The survey runs from April 1st- April 30th and uses an online tetrad system that can be found here – CornwallRookerySurvey The survey methodology is simple. Double click on the square(s) that you want and then search all suitable habitat within the square for Rookeries to gain a nest count. A Recording form will be sent out in April to those that have requested squares.

Mermaid II trip planned, weather permitting from 13:00 to 16:00 on Thursday 5th March, cost £25. Meet outside the ticket office on the Ross Bridge, no later than 15 minutes before sailing.

Save Our Swifts: A Conservation Project for Cornwall. Down by 57% over the last 25 years and the iconic sound of Swifts on a balmy summers evening to be a thing of the past? Help us to redress the balance and support our Swifts by taking part in our Cornwall Swift Survey later this spring, making and installing nestboxes, attending events and spreading the word. Have a look HERE to see what we are doing and let us know how you can help. In the next few weeks we will providing more details on the survey, other events and mini-projects. Watch this space!

February 2020 News

Cornwall County List 2020: As we come up to the end of February the county list currently stands at around 185, after a relatively quiet month birding-wise, and plenty of poor weather. The full list can be found on the website Here.

Walks and Events: Report of the latest Tresillian River Walk and a reminder of a talk by the ‘Lone Kayaker’ Rupert Kirkwood at Chacewater Village Hall coming up this Friday 6th March, for more details see the events calendar in the header menu above.

Mermaid II trip planned, weather permitting from 13:00 to 16:00 on Thursday 5th March, cost £25. Meet outside the ticket office on the Ross Bridge, no later than 15 minutes before sailing.

Please Note: The CBWPS hide at Burniere Point is unusable at the moment due to it being blown off its fixings by the recent gales a few days short of its 52nd birthday! A team will be working to get it back to normal as soon as possible. Update: The CBWPS hide at Burniere Point is now usable again. Thanks to Adrian and his team for their hard work and speedy response (25/02/20).

January 2020 News

Cornwall County List 2020: The number of species seen in the County so far this year now stands at over 180, with a good number of county and national rarities already being reported and seen. The full (provisional) list can be found on the website Here, We will be posting ongoing County year listing updates soon too, so watch this space …

 

Big Garden Bird Watch 2020: It’s the #BigGardenBirdWatch this weekend 25th- 27th January. What will you see? Take an hour of your time & record the birds you see in your garden or local park: RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch

Don’t forget to let us know at your local bird club what you’ve seen too – numbers and occurrences of the commoner British birds are often underreported, especially common breeding birds later in the year.

2019 Birding Review: With a new year and a new decade just started, Reuben Veal looks back over the highlights of what was another all round great year for birds in Cornwall, with some exceptional records including several new additions to the Cornish list – Cornish Birding Roundup 2019

Membership reminder: For those who pay for their society membership by cheque, please note that it is now due.

December 2019 News

Bird recording volunteers:  The National Trust in West Cornwall are looking for bird enthusiasts to help carry out bird surveys at some of our countryside sites, to measure the impact of our ever expanding habitat management work. In 2020 we have new work (including pony grazing) starting at Tregiffian, Porthcurno, Rospletha, Mayon cliff, Escalls, Cape Cornwall, Kenidjack and Treveal.  Complementing existing schemes we have in place, to give birds and other wildlife the right habitat conditions to thrive.

We have a list of sites across West Cornwall to survey, each one requiring just 2 visits between the end of March and end June.  If you think you can help us or would like further information, please contact Shaun on 07881 811481 or Shaun.Boyns@nationaltrust.org.uk.

Cornwall Birds Student Award 2019: The Cornwall Birds (CBWPS) ‘Birds in Cornwall Award for Student Research’ in memory of Vic Simpson (1941-2018) aims to recognise and promote the contribution to the long history of Cornish ornithology by masters and final year undergraduate students. The award is given to the student judged to have produced the best ornithological dissertation based on research conducted in Cornwall. To find out more please see: Cornwall Birds Student Award 2019

Paddyfield Pipit colour A4 prints by renowned wildlife artist Martin Elliott, from a limited-edition of 30, signed and numbered at £20 each (plus £5 p&p). People can contact Martin by e-mail or ringing 07875295457.

Gull Identification field-classes: based at the Hayle Estuary led by Martin Elliott. This winter numbers will be limited to a maximum of 4 people at a time and aim be more flexible about time etc so £10 per hour per head for the first 2 hours then £5 per hour thereafter. People can contact Martin by e-mail or ringing 07875295457.

Guided Birdwatching Cruises: Our three hour Guided Bird Watching Cruises have live commentary throughout from leading ornithologists who have spent many years studying the birds and wildlife on the this award-winning stretch of water. We have large comfortable boats with outdoor upper decks and indoor heated lower decks with huge windows – great for viewing whatever the weather.  Refreshments are available along with Rod & Bens organic soup and the Chunk of Devon pasties are available to pre-order. We have availability on our cruises running to the beginning of March that you can see on the website here https://www.stuartlinecruises.co.uk/bird-watching/  If there are any dates that would be particularly suitable to you that are not listed please feel free to contact us and we can look at arranging an additional date for you.  Tickets cost just £12.50 per person or £10 per person for groups of 15 or more.

Mermaid II wildlife trip will sail 12:00 Tuesday 17/12 – 2 hours at £17 per head (pay on boat), again hoping to find the Pacific Diver! book through M Elliott (07875295457) and check on Monday to make sure it is still going if the weather changes and where to embark.

djc

December 2019 News

Paddyfield Pipit colour A4 prints by renowned wildlife artist Martin Elliott, from a limited-edition of 30, signed and numbered at £20 each (plus £5 p&p). People can contact Martin by e-mail or ringing 07875295457.

Gull Identification field-classes based at the Hayle estuary led by Martin Elliott. This winter numbers will be limited to a maximum of 4 people at a time and aim be more flexible about time etc so £10 per hour per head for the first 2 hours then £5 per hour thereafter. People can contact Martin by e-mail or ringing 07875295457.