Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Midlands - July 2016

Just a single addition for John Clarkson with Great Black-backed Gull keeping him ahead of Nick Crouch at Collingham in second spot. Nick climbs 4 places from sixth thanks to Quail, Great White Egret, Wood Sandpiper and Mediterranean Gull. A fine showing to breach 100% including bonus points for the Egret. Phil Hyde remains in third place having leapfrogged Tom Shields with Sand Martin and Spotted Flycatcher his best bits this time out. Matthew Dick who patches Darley Dale is our latest to 100% in the Midlands with a patch first Oystercatcher the culprit. 

Steve Nuttall slips into joint second position in the points league surrendering his lead to Erik Ansell with Rod Baker level on 184 with Steve. Erik adds Roseate Tern plus Marsh Harrier and Wood Sandpiper with Rod only connecting with the Rosy. Steve Nuttall added three points consisting of Pied Flycatcher and Barn Owl.

Grasshopper Warbler - Richard Harbird
The only bonus points this month aside from at Collingham were also for a Great White Egret at Willington GPs for Mark Gash. Ben Ward added a Wood Sandpiper at Whisby, and at Marston Sewage Works there was Turtle Dove, Yellow-legged Gull and Egyptian Goose for Dave Roberts. Grasshopper Warbler was new for Richard Harbird and as were Whinchat and Redstart for Rob Swift. Andrew Chick had a Turtle Dove in his garden whilst Jack Bradbury had a Hobby hunting Swifts over the 'toxic pool'.  

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Inland South Minileague - July 2016

Stephanie Brown added just a point in July for Common Sandpiper but it is more than enough to keep her clear at the top of the comparative minileague on 120%. Richard Scantlebury makes no further progress this time out and stays in second and Ian Bennell is also staic in third place although both are over the 100% mark. Tom Stevenson jumps in to fourth spot and is a shade under the magic 100% climbing three places this time.

Brendan Sheils jumps to the top of the minileague having submitted his first score of the year at Trent Manor Farm. He supplants perennial leader, Tom Raven who isn't a million miles off his comparative score although there was no update for July (it seems plenty of inland birders have had a quiet month). And as we know Ian Bennell hasn't updated this time out either so he remains on 148 points, 16 behind our new leader.

Roger Murfitt managed the only bonus points of the month with Great White Egret providing him with a handy 6 points. Other good bits include a patch lifer for Tim Farr at Sutton Bingham in the form of a Black Redstart and similarly a Pied Flyctacher for Adam Bassett whilst not a first was notworthy at Little Marlow. Neil Burt is one of the lucky few to record Turtle Dove this year and in conjunction with Spotted Flycatcher as well. James McCulloch found an Arctic Tern amongst the Commons at Hedgecourt NR and a few people mentioned Med Gulls and Common Sandpipers. Its pretty quiet but not for long. We know there is a Yank Wader in August but who for and how many points?

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Coastal Ireland Minileague - July 2016

No change in the rankings at the top of the Coastal Ireland Comparative Minileague by the end of July where Noel Keogh continues his run in first pace with a comfortable lead from South Dublin Bay on 106.5%, Roseate Tern his latest addition.

Eleanor Keane in second also added Roseate Tern to her patch year list which now stands at 94.6% along the Killiney Hill to Dun Laoghaire coastline. Also well into the 90% bracket is Richard Donaghey in third who managed some #patchgold by finally nailing Moorhen for the Bann Estuary patch list, flushed from reeds at one of the local ringing sites (see the Causeway Coast Ringing Group blog for more).

Tacumshin continued to provide the megas since the last update and while he missed out on Greater Sand Plover and Pacific Golden Plover, Noel Keogh still managed to catch up with the Western Sandpiper and White-rumped Sandpiper found there during the month. Western Sand is a new addition to the overall PWC list since it began in 2013! This leaves Noel well ahead in the Coastal Ireland Points Minileague with 210 points from 146 species.

Christopher O'Sullivan added Little Ringed Plover, Mediterranean Gull and European Storm-petrel at Clonakilty/Inchydoney which sees him climb from sixth to fourth place there. This site will no doubt do very well as the autumn progresses.

Cathal Forkan had a good run in North Galway Bay with new additions including a fine breeding plumage Spotted Redshank, adult Mediterranean Gull, two Little Gulls, three Little Terns and a Great Skua. Continuing with the theme of good patch waders, Derek Polley recorded Wood Sandpiper at RSPB Belfast Harbour and a Curlew Sandpiper was an excellent addition to Julian Wyllie's year list at Baltimore.

Arctic Skua and Tree Sparrow awaited Tom Moore at Kilmore Quay while Keith Adams found three Long-eared Owls at Dunhill ecopark/Annestown/Boatstrand in Co. Waterford.

Spotted Redshank © Cathal Forkan 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Inland Ireland Minileague - July 2016

July was another quiet month for the Inland Ireland Minileague with no change on the comparative table but on the points table we see some of the new contestants busy plugging away and adding well to their first year scores.

In third place on the points table, Christian Osthoff added flyover Curlew (a classic July species) and Kingfisher on the river at Carrigmore Co. Wicklow, bringing him up to his target of 70 species for the year. 

Ian Stevenson gets in with a June update this month which was a very productive time for him along the Grand Canal Way with Cuckoo, Yellowhammer and Kingfisher added. All fine species to see on the outskirts of the capital. 

Julian Wyllie updates his score from Skibbereen in West Cork which results in a tie in tenth place with Des Higgins at University College Dublin, both on 56 species and 59 points.

The first site breeding record of Tufted Duck was noted at Kilbogget Park, Co. Dublin © Niall T. Keogh

Wales Minileague - July 2016

July brings some movement near the top of the Wales Comparative Minileague table where a Great White Egret found by Julian Hughes at RSPB Conwy was only the second site record and allowed for some bonus points to bump his comp score past the 100% milestone and edge him just ahead of Alison C to take second place.

Great White Egret © Julian Hughes

Trevor Fletcher connected with a #fullfatpatchtick Hobby at Rudry Common and along with getting Crossbill in for the year saw him rise from eight to fourth pace with 96.5%. Well within reach of his target now.

Tony Swann is also doing well, with an eleventh to eight place move at Brynna Woods where some serious #patchgold came in the form of a Mute Swan (first for the site) as well as flyover Black-headed Gulls on passage. 

The Teifi duo of Richard Dobbins and Wendy James are back in first and second place together in the Wales Points Minileague after both connecting with Great White Egret, a difficult species to get in Pembrokeshire. Both are in the 140's in terms of species and Richard is topping the list at 183 points.

Mike Cram may be top of the comp table at Broughton and Llangennith but his second patch at Porthcawl to Rest Bay (which is in its first year of PWC) produced a fine seawatch on 10th July with 1952 Manx Shearwaters in 3 hours along with an Arctic Skua and best of all, a Leach's Storm-petrel to boot! 

A Little Egret was the first patch year tick in 9 weeks for Alastair Flannagan at Swansea Vale to Fendrod Lake, a Redstart was the first on site in two years at Comeston, Sully and Lavernock for Ceri Jones and a Sandwich Tern at Cardiff Bay was the only notable sighting for Peter Howlett who is currently riding out a quiet spell at his patch. Hopefully August will bring the goods for the hard working patchers here! 

The contribution to BirdTrack in the Wales Minileague has now surpassed 2,100 complete lists and 47,000 records!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Estuarine Minileague - June 2016

The Cornwall Dalmatian Pelican finally made it's way to the Hayle Estuary as Paul Freestone added this unexpected visitor to both of this patches this year. This five pointer puts him into first place and sailing over the 100% marker in the comparative league. Peter Hazlewood had an excellent spring to put him in second place, but the same cannot be said of June with nothing new of note in what is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year. Joost Brandsma remains just shy of the 100% mark in third, a barrier which is sure to fall soon!

In the top two spots are Dave Craven and Howard Vaughan in what is becoming quite a tussle at the top. In fact these two patches produced the best finds of June also, with a male Golden Oriole making for real #patchgold in it's most literal sense for Howard whilst a very unseasonal and unexpected Green-Winged Teal brightened up Dave's month.

An unseasonal American visitor at Hale & Pickerings Pasture in June - c/o Dave Craven

The 14 extra species so far at Hale and Pickerings is telling though as Dave retains a 16 point lead at the top. Meanwhile, the Frampton / Freiston collective cannot be ignored with autumn approaching, and waderfest is on its way! They occupy third and fourth spots so it should make for an exciting autumn.

For most patchers, June is a quiet month in the competition, so enjoying the breeding birds and summer residents becomes the highlights when few points are added. There were however a few points additions to be made. A Spoonbill at Frampton was to be expected at some point in the year, but a bird at Birkenhead Docks much less so for Elliot Monteath, it was a first for patch, Birkenhead and east Wirral. In fact Elliot had a good month with a fine Roseate Tern and a Little Tern which flew up the estuary giving Elliot enough time to tip off Dave Craven at Hale and Pickerings who added it to his list also. A great example of patch teamwork which is what we like to see! Another example of teamwork was the White Stork at Saul Warth which was added by Gordon Hodgson thank to the local Twitter network. How social media has changed birding.

Little Gulls are often a feature of late summer and an early bird was an excellent patch tick for both patchers at Hesketh Out Marsh.

Little Gull was a patch tick for Stuart Darbyshire at Hesketh Out Marsh
Excluding the literal example from Rainham above, a Marsh Tit for Ian Ballam was a lifer for him at Lytchett Bay so takes the #patchgold kudos for June.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Islands Minileague - June 2016

After a rarity-filled, hectic May, relative calm returns to the Islands Minileague during June. David Wood remains in first place on the comparative table at The Oa, edging slightly closer to his target for the year, now on 99.3%.

Swift was a welcome addition to IanT's patch year list at Askernish as they are not easy that way out west plus two bonus patch ticks with Long-eared Owl and a snazzy Red-necked Phalarope! This results in a percentage jump into the 90's where Ian keeps hold of second place for another month with 92.9%.

Mark Newell is close behind in third on 90.9%, having overtaken Bryan Rains on Mull. Mark added House Sparrow to his Isle of May list in June, bringing his overall patch life list to 200. Quite the patch milestone. Well done!

No update from Bardsey during June but Steve Stansfield still claims first place on the points table for another month. John Bowler is catching up however with seven points added at Balephuill in the form of Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint and Turtle Dove. This would normally be considered a fine haul if it wasn't for the White-throated Sparrow, singing Icterine Warbler and singing Marsh Warbler which John also saw on Tiree during June but all of which were off the patch!

Bruce Taylor looks like he is giving PWC's own Ryan Irvine a run for his money when it comes to sofaseawatching. Bruce gained some excellent bonus points with a White-billed Diver scoped from his lounge at Brevig on Barra! Add to this, Long-tailed and Pomarine Skua too! Bruce jumps from ninth to fourth on the points table. 

Other monthly mentions included a Crane at Balivanich for Stuart Taylor, a Quail on the Farne Islands for Ed Tooth and Tree Pipit plus Bar-tailed Godwit for Sean Morris on Rum.