I expect a number of you may have male friends, relatives or partners who will be sprouting moustaches for ‘Movember’ a global initiative and movement to raise awareness of men’s health issues. The Mo Bros (suitably supported and encouraged by Mo Sistas of course) will be channeling their inner Tom Sellek, David Niven, Freddie Mercury, Salvador Dali or Albert Einstein and growing their moustaches to raise money – money that will go on to make a difference and save lives.
Keith Robinson, who featured a little while ago here on the blog- one of the chough’s biggest supporters – has terminal cancer, but in fighting spirit, he is looking forward to getting hairy for Movember. What’s the link with choughs you may well ask?
In Keith’s own words
‘When was taken ill in 2011 I was literally at death’s door and should have died on the spot, “it’s written in my medical docs !!” a double embolism normally denudes you of that lifeblood we need to breath. I was told afterwards that the only reason I survived was because I was in good shape and the lungs in particular were still at 100% regardless of the size of the hole letting in the oxygen. The reason I was so fit? I’d been chasing choughs on the cliffs since 2004 – now that puts you in shape, my fitness was attributable to them and I feel, in a strange way, they played a major part in my life during the early hours of my diagnosis. I am forever indebted to them and that’s why I still look after our precious red legged mates and do whatever I can’.
Choughs are good for your health. ’Nuff said. If you would like to make a donation to Movember you can do so via this link, just type Keith Robinson into the box and then input your card details etc, you will even get to see his last year’s upper lip accessory!
Forgot to post the 2014 Chough Watchers team photo taken at our end of season BBQ. Such a beautiful day and a great location for a party. Think the photographer needs some lessons on getting people to cooperate!
Party by the sea
Keith got in touch with us in 2005, when he came across a bird he didn’t recognise while out for a walk near Mullion. He went home to look it up on the interweb and of course that led him to us at the RSPB. Newly retired and having time to walk, he soon found that a pair of choughs had taken up residence on cliffs near him and thus began his close connection with these amazing birds. All these years on, Keith still says he isn’t a birdwatcher, but he is one of our most dedicated and loyal volunteers.This year, as in previous years, Keith set up and ran the nest protection operation at ‘his’ site with the help of local people, many of whom have been co-opted to the job by Keith and his persuasive charm and passion for choughs. Being ex Navy there is military precision in the planning and execution of all tasks -including the end of season BBQ! Keith is not very well at the moment, so us and the choughs send him happy thoughts and hope he’s back on the cliffs very soon.
Keith’s second home
Matt, Mark, Keith and Darren on BBQ duty 2014
Choughs are often seen hopping around, they seem to sustain quite a few injuries to their legs. All that scrabbling around on rocks, fighting off the enemy and scrapping, it’s a hard life even if you are chough-tough. Poor ‘no rings Nora’ on the Lizard has been limping for the last week or so, although there is no obvious damage to her leg and she is feeding as well as ever. No-rings Nora is very easy to identify because unlike the other choughs in Cornwall she is not colour-ringed – where did she come from? We have a feather sample from her so hope to find out soon. Her and her mate, still accompanied by one of their offspring from this year, are usually to be seen around the cliffs at Kynance.
‘Nora’ no rings -hopping along. Photo Alec Farr