TWENTY YEARS OF CORNISH CHOUGHS AND ANOTHER BUMPER YEAR

A cause for celebration! This year marks 20 years since the first Cornish born choughs were seen once again out on the cliffs. Conservationists are celebrating the milestone with the news that Cornwall’s bird continues to be on the up after another great nesting season this spring.

In 2002, a pair of choughs on the Lizard, who naturally returned to Cornwall the previous year after a lengthy absence from our coast, successfully fledged three young and choughs have bred every year since. Now, in 2022, 25 pairs of Cornish Chough were found to have been successful, raising over 70 young, bringing the current population to around 200 birds!

The return of the chough has been no small feat. Only through some great partnership work, and the support of an amazing team of volunteers has this been possible and it is testament to the hard work of nature friendly farmers and landowners for providing the suitable habitat for chough.

Nicola Shanks on behalf of the RSPB says “’A big thanks in getting Cornish Choughs to where they are today goes partly to the brilliant team of volunteers. From hours spent safeguarding nest sites, seeking out new pairs and engaging with the public, we wouldn’t be where we are today without them”

The chough can be seen all over the Duchy with small populations now on the mid and North Cornwall coast as their range continues to grow.  A huge achievement for a bird once extinct in Kernow but even greater against a backdrop of decreasing chough populations elsewhere in the UK.  Not all the young will survive to adulthood and raise families themselves but the higher the number of chicks that survive each year the more robust the birds become against extinction in the future.

Hilary Mitchell of CBWPS reports: “It’s becoming much harder to track down all our pairs now as we have so many more chough, and the records sent in to choughs@cbwps.org.uk once again proved incredibly valuable, particularly when locating new pairs. With our chough population increasing and spreading out along much of the Cornish coast, it’s wonderful that so many more people, both local and visitors, have had the opportunity to connect with these fantastic birds.”

Partners in The Cornish Chough Conservation Network are putting on a number of events and activities to celebrate and recognise the great number of people from volunteers, farmers, landowners and organisations that work for the benefit of chough.

Kate Evans from the National Trust says: “We often hear and read about nature decline in the news so it’s great to be celebrating a nature conservation success story like this one, and so close to home. We want as many people as possible to celebrate Cornish Choughs with us, whether that’s walking the coast path to spot a chough or taking part in the chough town trail in Penzance. We would love to see how people are celebrating and encourage you to share on social media using the hashtag #CornishChoughs20”

From guided walks & talks, a trail and storytelling – keep an eye out over the summer or visit: https://bit.ly/CornishChoughs20

Did you see the article about CBWPS in the recent Birdwatching Magazine?

A piece on Cornwall Birds history, our reserves and some surprising finds was published in this months edition and well worth a read.

To get yourself a copy please visit the Birdwatching Magazine website here: Birdwatching Magazine

Sand Martins on a golf course? Whatever next!

In May this year, we were contact by a member of the public with concerns about a colony of Sand Martins which in previous years had suffered disturbance leading to breeding failure. The colony is on land owned by Bude & North Cornwall Golf Club, although not directly on the golf course. It is however adjacent to a public footpath and visible from a nearby public road.

I contacted the Golf Club who were very willing to help. They immediately roped off the area of the colony and put up notices asking passing walkers not to disturb the birds. I visited the colony a few days later and found it to be very busy with about 35 burrows in use and a lot of excavating going on. A Sand Martin flies in and next minute there is sand flying out of the hole.

I visited again in late June and estimated 38 burrows in use. There were birds flying in all directions with many juveniles flying with the adults. There were also lots of visits to the burrows to feed chicks not yet fledged. The good news was that there was no sign of any disturbance or damage to the colony over and above natural erosion of the sand.

My final visit was on 24th July. The colony had been vacated with no Sand Martins in sight. Again the good news is there was no evidence of any disturbance to the colony. I took a closer look and estimated that 35-40 burrows had been in use this year.

A great success story and our thanks go to Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club for their support.

Steve Ashby

Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation society AGM 2022 Annual General Meeting

This year’s Cornwall Birds AGM will take place on Saturday 23rd July. This will be held as a live event and the start of hosting our AGM’s in the summer period to better align with the submission of our accounts. The full AGM notice with full details of the agenda and nomination forms are provided in the attached file found here: AGM Notice 2022 (1)
The AGM will include presentations of the CBWPS Financial Results for the year 2021, these have been approved by the external examiners and the board, ready for members approval at the AGM. Anyone that would like a copy should email secretary@cbwps.org,uk or treasurer@cbwps.org.uk.
The AGM will take place at Stithians Reservoir – Water Sports Center at 5pm for a bird walk around the reserve and surrounding areas followed by the official business and then a BBQ. Official business will start roughly around 6pm for those members wishing to attend just for this.
To help us get an idea of numbers, (mainly for food), if you can give Joshua Howells (secretary@cbwps.org.uk) a quick heads up this would be appreciated, but not essential, we welcome as many CBWPS members as possible to join the us at the event.

CBWPS Membership Secretary Role

Sadly Carol Hughes, Cornwall Birds Membership Secretary, has decided to step down as Membership Secretary for personal reasons. Carol has in three years vastly improved a system that was much in need of upgrading. We are very grateful to Carol for all she has achieved and wish her well for the future. Carol has agreed to stay in post until a successor has been appointed.

In the meantime, we would love to hear from anyone who would be interested in becoming our next Membership Secretary. You will be the first point of contact for prospective and new members, keeping in touch by phone and email and ensuring new applications are smoothly handled. You’ll also be in regular contact with existing members, updating records and keeping them up to date about membership information and subscriptions.

You will also be an important source of information for the Board of Trustees, keeping them in touch with membership trends. We are looking to introduce new ways of joining Cornwall Birds, especially to attract younger members, and making our subscription payment methods easier. The Membership Secretary will be at the heart of these changes.
If you are interested (or know someone who might be) please contact the Chairman (Mark Grantham) or Vice Chairman (Bruce Taggart) via email using chairman@cbwps.org.uk or taggart.bruce@gmail.com

Military Exercise Cancelled at Colliford Reservoir

Swift action by Cornwall Birds and the South West Lakes Trust has led to the Ministry of Defense deferring a proposed full blown military exercises at Colliford Lake on Bodmin Moor.

Dave Conway, Cornwall Birds warden at the Loveny Reserve contacted the board last week with news of the proposed exercise. It was scheduled to take place in the middle of the breeding season in an area of the Moor where large scale military vehicles would be deployed in key Curlew breeding territories. Very few pairs of Curlew now breed in Cornwall and the exercise including troop movements and low level flights by Chinook helicopters, would have caused considerable disturbance to a variety of moorland nesting birds!

Mark Grantham, Chair of Cornwall Birds and Jeremy Fielden, Environment and Engagement Ranger for South West Lakes Trust, expressed their concerns to the Ministry of Defense who on learning of the potential harm that they would cause decided very quickly to cancel the operation and look at alternatives or defer it to later in the year.

An excellent result!