News – mid October 2017

Summer seawatching in Cornwall – Where to go, When to go, and an Introduction to the Basics – article Here

Seawatching – Summer 2017 – Dave Flumm looks at the extraordinary Great Shearwater and Wilson’s Petrel influxes this summer. Read the Article Here

Access at Davidstow Airfield: Davidstow Airfield is an active airfield and we have been reminded that there is NO right to roam here and that cars must NOT drive onto the airfield at all. We have been advised that we can WALK onto the grassy areas, but not the runways. Cars should be parked alongside the road. Failure to comply, could lead to access being withdrawn altogether.

Help requested: Please look out for this collection box missing from Mousehole Wild Bird Hospital, carved for them in 1958, more important than contents:

Breeding Swifts – Dr Thais Martins of the Centre for Applied Zoology, Cornwall College Newquay is on a quest to find out where swifts are breeding in the County. She would like to know not just where screaming parties are, but more specifically where nesting sites are. If you can supply any records, they can be sent to and we can collate and forward them to Dr Martins.

‘Birds of Guyana’ talk – Friday October 27th, 7.30pm. at Chacewater Village Hall. A talk by Ian Gasper about birding in this tropical South American country. Trogans, hummingbirds, cotingas, tanagers and toucans. A birding paradise.
Admission is £3 and refreshments are available. Contact: Roger Hooper 01209 820610

Tawny Owl Study – I am a BSc Applied Zoology student at Moulton College, Northamptonshire. I am conducting my third year research project on Tawny owls and aiming to investigate if they have regional accents.
I was wondering if anyone may have any recordings of Tawny Owls from around your local areas that I could have access to as part of this study? Or if members of your bird group would be interested in going out and collecting some recordings of Tawny owls in the wild.
Along with any recordings, the date, location and if possible the type of device in which the recording was taken would be required if available.
If this is something that you would be able to assist me with, please contact me on my email address – to discuss further details. Many thanks, Katherine Mounsey

Save Europe’s Vultures from Poisoning with Veterinary Diclofenac

From Mark Avery’s blog we encourage you to read the below and sign the petition. 09/01/guest-blog- international-vulture- awareness-day-ian-parsons/

Dear Swift Friends, You may be aware of the sad yet ridiculous tale of the European Commission and the veterinary use of a drug, the anti-inflammatory Diclofenac. This drug is in common use throughout the world to treat such conditions as joint inflammation, it can thus extend the useful lives of dairy cattle. However, once it came into widespread use in India the vulture population there was wiped out, by some accounts 99% of all India’s vultures died. Diclofenac residues in dead cattle affect Vultures’ kidneys, and kill them within a few days.

Incredibly, years after the entire environmental and veterinary professions knew the risk, the European Commission licensed the same drug for veterinary use in Europe, while apparently at the same time funding the feeding of Vultures with farm animal carcases in Spain to support Vulture populations there. Quite how such an insane state of affairs came about, when there are equally cheap and effective alternatives to Diclofenac available, is an interesting problem to ponder over as the nights draw in and the world becomes ever darker.

Now ‘s the time to try and reverse this madness; we need vultures as Nature’s non-polluting hygienic waste disposal system, we need them even more maybe to study their amazing immune systems to help us survive new and existing diseases, we need them as magnificent inspiring visions in the sky, and we need them to name castles after in Game of Thrones!

Please follow the link and sign the petition!

Best wishes, Edward – Keeping the Skies Alive

Cait Hutchings

Cait Hutchings Funeral Arrangements

It is with great sadness that we learn of the sudden passing of Cait Hutchings, former CBWPS Board Member, a popular figure and well-known to many in Cornwall birding circles. Our best wishes are with her family and close friends at this time.

Cait’s funeral will take place on Monday 21st August at 11am at Penryn Methodist Church, followed by burial with Stuart and a wake to be held at the Thirsty Scholar pub, in West Street not far from the Methodist Church. 

Cait’s family wish there to be no black worn at the funeral; family flowers only please; and donations if desired to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

Please note that there isn’t a huge amount of parking space in Penryn. The main central car park accessed from St Gluvias Street (left beside the Town Hall) gets pretty full. There is more parking further afield: one car park on Commercial Road behind Mill Autos; a few spaces on the quay; and if you’re lucky a few spaces along Commercial Road itself. I should think there’s little chance of getting a space in the tiny car park in Saracen Way, just beside the Church, and even if there are spaces there please leave them for family members.

I’m sure the funeral will be well attended, so please double up on cars whenever possible, and allow plenty of time in case you have to park at a distance from the Church.

It may make sense for those travelling from further afield to meet up at the petrol station end of Asda car park for car-sharing into Penryn itself. Non-residents parking may also be available in Penryn.

Young Scientist of the Year 2017

Dear CBWPS members

Ed Thurlow and I won the GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year Award 2017 at the BigBang Fair in March with a project investigating garden birds’ responses to coloured supplementary feeders. I was hoping you would like to take part in this “citizen science” project or promote it further.BBC Springwatch featured the project and encouraged schools to participate. The larger the data set that can be gained, however, the stronger the conclusions. It would be of great interest to all of those involved (birds included) to see results from a national project. We have been fortunate enough to gain coverage of the project in national and local media. As a result of our BigBang Fair win we are representing the UK to compete at EUCYS (EU Contest for Young Scientists in Tallinn) in September and hope the project will be further publicised so others can take part.If this would be of interest to you, read on to see the  relevant information: methodology and the science behind the results. The link to the survey to collect results can be found here – ( uk/r/98JW8MZ)

As a keen birder, I feel that this would be a great way to get people involved and hopefully help our garden birds!

Thank you in advance,

George Rabin and Ed Thurlow

The Experiment


Five identical seed port bird feeders made of clear plastic.Four paint colours: Red, Yellow, Dark Blue and Green, acrylic or preferably oil paint.Bird food: sunflower seed hearts, peanuts, suet pellets and meal worms are good bird foods.Bird feeder pole/tree (to hang the feeders).Scales.


1) Gather your 5 bird feeders and 4 paints. Set one of these feeders aside, as this will be your control

2) Take the other 4 bird feeders and paint each one a different colour. Avoid painting the feeding ports as this could harm the birds (most feeders can be dismantled to do this). Add a strip of tape down the side that can be removed to make a gauge to see the food level or just open the lid to see how the level is dropping.

3) When dry, fill up each bird feeder.

4) Place outside and try to space out feeders evenly and at a similar height as this will stop the birds preferring one due to its position rather than colour.

5) How much recording you do is up to you. If possible, count the number of visits to each feeder by any species for 15/20 minutes each day. Try to make a note of which species use which colour. In terms of counting the visits, the more the better! Add up all the visits to get a rank for each feeder.

6) Once one feeder reaches below 1/3 full, weigh all the feeders (to get a rank) and refill all the feeders. Calculate the overall amount of food eaten from each feeder to get an overall rank.

7) Continue the experiment for as long as you wish

8) The survey uk/r/98JW8MZ asks questions about the popularity of the feeders (ranked 1-5), which species preferred each feeder, and other details about how you did the experiment.

Science behind the results

In the initial experiment, the birds displayed a preference for the dark blue feeder. It seems likely that the preference is down to the way that birds use and perceive this colour. High energy wavelengths are often used in communication, for example. Red and yellow were least popular because they are aposematic colours (nature’s warning colours).




Seawatching in Cornwall – Part 1) Late Summer

Seawatching in Cornwall – Part 1) Late Summer

  1. Where to go

  2. When to go

  3. Seawatching – the basics

It is at this time of year that many birdwatchers around the county turn their attention to the coastal headlands of the south west, Cornwall especially, as a prelude to the first of the autumn gales battering the coast,.with the allure of the ‘big two’ shearwaters drawing and the hope of finding or seeing something rarer …

Both Cory’s Shearwater and Great Shearwater, regular visitors to the warmer waters of the Bay of Biscay further to the south west and the western approaches are difficult to catch up with anywhere in the British Isles in season, and even in Cornwall away from a handful of sites and imperfect conditions (or so it used to be, has all that changed?!) …

… Continue reading the Full Article Here

Seawatching in Cornwall – Late Summer

Bird Dialect Names Survey

Please allow me to introduce myself: my name is Kerstin Richter; I am a PhD student of the University of Regensburg in Bavaria. My dissertation project in English linguistics focuses on historical dialect bird names and their present day use.

In order to collect the necessary data, I am herewith kindly asking for your help. I would be extremely grateful if you could forward the following link to the members of your bird society:

Of course you are also very welcome to take part in my little survey yourself. It will take up only 5-10 minutes of your time, and no personal details will have to be disclosed.

If you or the participants have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail or telephone.

Any contribution to my studies will help me immensely and your support is very much appreciated.

Very warm wishes,

Kerstin Richter

Fikentscherstr. 11

93051 Regensburg, Germany

Phone: +49(0)941-5861573

Mobile: +49(0)15208764201


News July 2017

*Seabirds Count – survey 2017* A census of breeding seabirds has been organised in the UK and Ireland approximately every 15 years since 1969-70. Together with the JNCC and partners we will be surveying the whole of the Cornish coastline over the next few breeding seasons to continue this work. To take part or find out more please see *Seabirds Count*

Guidelines for submissions of bird news: We welcome submission of all bird news from anyone, CBWPS member or not. To make it easier to collate submissions we would ask you to follow the Guidelines for Submissions which can be found HERE

Breeding Season Records: We will not be publishing specific news of Sensitive and Schedule 1 Breeding Birds on the news page during the breeding season. Common sense applies – the welfare of the birds comes first.

We would still very much like all records of these species however, including photographs where appropriate, for the County Record etc even if the news is not specifically published on the day.

Website update: New on the cbwps website – ‘First Spring Arrivals 2017’ detailing first dates of new migrants into the county.

To read all the latest News, views and updates and find out what is happening within the Society and Cornwall’s birdlife please visit the News Page on the website.

The Birdwatchers’ CodeNature Photographers Code of Practice (pdf)