January 1st 2018 Cornwall Bird Race/Green Challenge

Report , 21/01/18 –

New Year’s Day Bird Race / Green Challenge …

The pre-dawn day beckoned crisp, bright and even. Lovingly waxed walking boots were put out by the porch, lightweight, nutritious lunches and snacks were carefully stowed into rucksacks, engine oils were topped up and tyre pressures checked, and OS maps were consulted* for one final time before setting off into the great wide unknown and the world of birds awaiting …

Or something like that. January 1st saw a number of Cornwall Birds members taking part in a traditional birding event – the first day of the new birding calendar. At fairly short notice we managed to get a bit of a competition going and asked folk to send in their results for 3 main categories – a Green Challenge for birds seen with no carbon footprint (including from home), Local Patch, and a wider County Listing.

The Green Challenge proved the most popular, with a total of 8 ‘teams’ taking part. The overall winner of the County-wide bird race was Bob Bosisto, with 91 species seen in the Newquay/Walmsley area, whilst the winner of the Green Challenge was Dan Chaney, with 77 species seen by foot in the Falmouth area. Warren Chegwidden managed a healthy 48 species whilst driving his van for work, and a couple of good garden bird lists were produced.

Around 111 species were seen overall by the 16 birders taking part, with some good birds including county rarities such as Caspian Gull, Richard’s Pipit being found by Tony Blunden and confirming a local Cattle Egret for Phil McVey. Other highlights included an Otter at Walmsley for Bob Bosisto a first site first record of Starling and plenty of other good patch records. No blisters reported, although I’m sure some legs ached the next day (mine did at any rate.)

*(not all by me – I wore wellies, couldn’t find my maps anywhere, and didn’t use the car at all, although I did take plenty of food, some of which was also relatively healthy and nutritous.)

See below for details of the challenge, along with the updated table of participants –


We will be organising further Bird Races /Green Challenges as the year progresses, as well as hosting County Yearlisting on the website, see the website pages Here to find out more.

New Year’s Day Bird Race/Green Challenge – mostly intended as harmless fun, to get folk out birding, get the yearlist started and see who can see the most birds on Jan 1st. We have 3 categories to keep it reasonably fair, and as inclusive as possible –

a) – Green, from home (multiple sites allowed, no driving at all)
b) – Patch, but driven to (1 site only)
c) – All/multiple site Cornwall – motorised.

We are hoping that the majority of entries will be of the form of non-motorised (green) or local patch. This is to promote local birding, reduce excess carbon consumption and hopefully turn up some good bird records. Obviously not everyone lives on the doorstep of a major nature reserve or wilderness area, so it is as much about a competition with yourself as others – to see how many species you can see! An hour or so spent walking to the local park and seeing what’s in the garden has as much relevance to this as a full-blown 24 hour intense bird-fest (the latter will probably get you more species though … )

‘Green’ birding is the way forward, see the Patchwork Challenge blog for more details.

Keeping track of your list – one good way is to enter lists on Bubo listing . You will need to sign in to start creating lists. (Go to ‘Create lists’ then choose or type in ‘Cornwall Mainland’ for location and choose ‘Year List’ ‘2018’, then you can start entering your records.) One nice function on bubo is the ‘target’ function whereby you can see which species have been encountered by others, as well as seeing their lists and a cumulative total list.

Complete lists should also be entered to Birdtrack, the BTO UK bird-recording scheme, although there are issues with sharing and seeing others’ information on the day, hence the suggestion of listing on bubo above.

Depending on popularity we can do similar, or more organized, bird races later in the spring too.


Fairly simple; all birds seen or heard in the County of Cornwall between 00:01 and 23:59 on the 1st January count, excepting escapes and exotics. Other rules may be made up at the time (eg if it looks like someone else may win perhaps).

Open to all, CBWPS members or not.

If you can register your intent to take part by emailing ‘webmaster@cbwps.org.uk‘ I can get a table sorted to list entries. Required information: Name, Type (a, b or c), Location(s) (for green, patch, or hometown if doing a motorised list) and we can then enter species totals when done. Or you can just contact on the day when you tell us your total and highlights.

Kudos to those who do well, or even just take part, but no prizes this time. I’m sure it will be competitive though …

Good birding and good luck.

Table now added, weather forecast looking a lot better than it was, less than 12 hours to go now …

Name Type LocationSpecies TotalBirdtrack
Bob Bosistoc) MotorisedNewquay and Camel area91Cattle Egret, Hawfinch, Otter
Phil Taylor & Hilary Mitchellc) MotorisedWest Penwith incl Hayle83 Yellowhammer, Nuthatch
Dan Chaneya) Green, non-motorisedFalmouth & College Res77Dipper, Goosander
Tony Blunden & Warren Claydonb) Local Patch, car usedLizard Point60YCaspian Gull, Richards Pipit
Mike Bishopa) GreenSt Buryan51Chiffchaff, Redwing
Warren Chegwiddenc) MotorisedCarrharrack- Truro-Penzance48Grey Plover, Mistle Thrush
Carol Hughesa) GreenRuan Lanihorne43YStarlings at Tregenna
Tony Millsa) GreenNewlyn41
Andy & Trish Blondena) GreenPolbathic Creek35Kingfisher in garden
Phil McVeya) GreenRed Moor35YCattle Egret, Dipper
J & B Teaguea) GreenHigher Crackington, garden+28Blackcap, Goldcrest, Redwing, Tawny Owl (h)
Dave Parkera) GreenPenzance - home22Gannet