Bob Hibbett 14th September 1946 – 27th April 2023 – Age 76

It is with great sadness that Bob Hibbett passed away on the 27th April. Bob had been unwell since Boxing Day and in hospital since early February.

The Cornwall birding community has lost a big character and a close friend to many, especially those in West Penwith.

Bob moved to Cornwall from Surrey 23 years ago to pursue his beloved hobby of birding. He soon settled in. Bob cut a striking figure with a 6’4″ frame, long silver hair and a string of beads round his neck giving him the nickname and persona of ‘ageing rock star’ which he seemed to quite like. During the recent lock-down times he sported an impressive Sikh-like beard. Rarely out of safari shorts and a matching waistcoat, Bob was a distinctive character. Bob was one of the most inoffensive and likeable characters on the birding scene, preferring to listen and offer some wise advice. That easy-going demeanour, beaming smile, soft voice and dulcet tone won many friends.

Bob was a socialite birder, rarely missing a get-together and never far from a local hostelry, or from an Indian or Thai restaurant with his birding pals. He always sat on the end of the table, within easy reach of that trademark cool box, filled with San Miguel; not for himself, but always to share.

Bob hosted the occasional barbeque. Generosity and sharing were the key ingredients. One never went hungry. A sausage and burger were just the starters before the serious steaks came out.

Bob was not just about the Cornish birding scene. He was a serious foreign birder with many trips under his belt. The list is endless but the major trips included China, Costa Rica, South America, Africa, Madeira and Spain many times. Indeed, one of his favourite holidays was a long distance drive to Spain in his beloved Land Rover Discovery. He was also a regular on Scilly every Autumn. One of his co-finds was a Spectacled Warbler on Tresco. His final trip just last September was an out of character six week “expedition” across four southern African states, under canvas and barbequeing all the way. Quite some undertaking for a 76 year Old. But that’s the way he was.

Perhaps surprisingly, Bob wasn’t in to seawatching, given he lived just ten minutes from both coasts and initially in a flat overlooking Sennen Bay and the open Atlantic beyond. His favourite description of seawatching was a “stringers charter” and the “dark side” of birding. His closest pals tried to convert him but he was having none of it. Wearing shorts on Pendeen cliffs wouldn’t have been comfortable though!

Bob has reached the line that one day we all have to cross. He leaves a deep void that can’t be filled. All who knew him will be extremely saddened by his passing, not least his wife Ros and two sons, Scott and Lee and grandchildren Peter, Connor and Olivia.

Good bye my friend, you will be missed, safe travels wherever that may be.

(Written by Steve Rogers and Pete Clement).

Funeral arrangements are still to be arranged and we will update the birding community once confirmed.