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 [email protected] or tel 01752 848541

Phil McVey, email [email protected] 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 [email protected]

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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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.