Thursday, 22 September 2016

Coastal Ireland Minileague - August 2016


Additions of Bullfinch and Stock Dove for Noel Keogh at South Dublin Bay leave him safe in first place by a matter of 10% on the Coastal Ireland Comparative Minileague table for another month. However, some of the minileague contestants who are in their first year of comparative scoring are moving up in the ranks and challenging the status quo...

Richard Donaghey's ringing efforts at the Bann Estuary paid dividends when some nocturnal wader mist-netting produced both Curlew Sandpiper and Ruff! Certainly not what he was expecting. The Curlew Sand may well represent the first ever to be ringed in Northern Ireland while the two Ruff were the first ringed there since 1983! More details on the excellent Causeway Coast Ringing Group blog. These additions plus others bring Richard to second place on the comparative table with 98.6%.

Eleanor Keane is bumped down to third place but managed to add Little Egret at her Killiney Hill to Dun Laoghaire coast patch, bringing her score up to 96.4%, so not entirely out of the running yet.

Derek Polley has been tipping away adding expected common species at his home patch of Bangor West, but the results of this have been a productive climb from eight to fourth place in the space of a month. One to watch! 



Curlew Sandpiper and Dunlin © Richard Donaghey

Some notable rarities get a mention in the Coastal Ireland Points Minileague during August and waders were certainly popular, as expected. A White-rumped Sandpiper and Curlew Sandpiper awaited Derek Polley at RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve while a Lesser Yellowlegs made for a fine addition to Chris O'Sullivan's Clonakilty/Inchydoney patch (along with Curlew Sandpiper) and Cory's Shearwater during a seawatch from Dunmore Head. Chris now moves into third place on the table as a result of these gains.

Graham Johnston put an end to his dry spell at Rinville with a Jay at the months end and Joe Proudfoot enjoyed no less than five year ticks in two hours at Sandymount Strand with Black Tern, Roseate Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Gull and Little Stint, leaving him on 110 species.

After all the excitement at Tacumshin during June and July, Noel Keogh had a quieter time of it during August but still added Wood Sandpiper and Little Stint bringing him to 148 species and 214 points in first place on the points table.


Thursday, 15 September 2016

Inland Ireland Minileague - August 2016

August was a very productive month for Niall Keogh at his local suburban parks patch in South Dublin where he caught up with Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff after missing them due to being away at sea for most of the spring. He also connected with Cormorant, Curlew and Spotted Flycatcher at Kilbogget Park which are all patch scarce. The sixth species to be added that month was a calling flyover #patchgold Common Sandpiper at night!

With no update from former Inland Ireland Comparative Minileague leader Michael John O'Mahony, recent gains allow Niall to move into first place here with just over 108%.

After much searching, Des Higgins finally year ticked Collared Dove at University College Dublin which sees him reach 105% in third place. 


No update from Derek Charles but he still remains in first place on the Inland Ireland Points Minileague table just shy of the ton.

Ian Stevenson is having a great run at his Grand Canal Way patch, reaching 70 species by the end of August with a patch tick juvenile Ringed Plover! Some fine #patchgold there. Ian sums up his experiences of taking part in PWC for the first time:

"
Really enjoying the patch challenge and have already well beaten my expectations. I had predicted maybe 60 or at a stretch 65 species so to be on 70 already is great. In fact, over all the years I’ve visited this area there are only four species that I have seen before which I haven’t seen this year which are Tree Sparrow, Red Kite, Green Sand and Spotted Fly…and it’s still only August. Now to find a Yellow-browed or even better a Pallas's Warbler over the next few weeks!…"


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Coastal North Minileague - August 2016

Ash Baines remains top of the comparative minileague as he adds 16 points in August to take him on to 108%. A quartet of patch ticks added to this bountiful month with Little Stint, Black Guillemot, Marsh Harrier and Ruff gracing Starr Gate for the first time. Iain Robson moves up to second place after adding 5% this month at Druridge pools. He also added Little Stint plus Curlew Sandpiper and Black Tern. James Spencer is also on the rise as he takes over in third spot less than 2% behind Iain. James had a trio of patch firsts with the undoubted highlight being a patchgold Coot wandering the beach. He also added Merlin and Hobby.

Barred Warbler - Paul French

Mick Turton remains at the top of the points minileague adding 8 points in August but as Badger was listed as his highlight we take it that Easington was relatively quiet. There was no further update from Tim Jones but he remains in second. Andy Hood moves into third place at Flamborough with Greenish Warbler, Caspian Gull and Little Stint this months additions. 

There were only two sets of bonus points this month with a Long-tailed Skua for Duncan Watson at Tynemouth while Paul French did add some bonus points in August thanks to a Barred Warbler he uncovered. He also added Pomarine Skua and Ortolan as well as finding a Pied Flycatcher in his garden. Elsewhere Nick Addey managed a Garganey on a seawatch at Long Nab and Ross Ahmed added Black Tern and Yellow-legged Gull.


Coastal Scotland - July 2016

Chris Rodger maintains top spot in a quiet July. He along with Andrew Whitehouse at Girdleness added Cuckoo to the year list this month. Stephen Welch closed the gap a little with Roseate Tern and a Kingfisher which graced his isolated little patch of inland water. It is a good time of year to find this fabulous little bird on smaller bodies of water it seems.

Chris and Stephen are the only patchers to have breached the 100% marker so far this year.


Chris Rodger also tops the points league with the gap to Colin Davison still substantial, reduced only slightly as Colin added Roseate Tern in month. Mike Hodgkin at Aberlady Bay makes up the top three, adding just a Kestrel to the patch list in July.


Other highlights in the month a King Eider at Northeast Aberdeen and Donmouth for Andrew Whitehouse and a Curlew Sandpiper, preceding the August invasion at Loch Gilp for Jim Dickson. Finally, a late record of a couple of Spoonbills in June was a fine record for Geoff Morgan at Barns Ness.

Spoonbills are not easy north of the border, a Scottish, Lothian and patch tick for Geoff Morgan in June (c/o Geoff Morgan)

Inland South Minileague - August 2016

Stephanie Brown stays top of the comparative league despite drawing a blank this month. Richard Scantlebury makes some inroads as he moves to 108% but he will have to put in a big performance to close the gap entirely. Tom Stevenson's Battle Farm patch rounds off the top three as he goes over the 100% mark and leap frogs Ian Bennell in the process. His best bits for August include Spotted Flycatcher and Lesser Whitethroat.

A Common Sandpiper at Sutton Bingham Reservoir in the same place as the Spotted Sandpiper. If you use your imagination... With thanks to Tim Farr


There was no update from Brendan this month but he remains top of the minileague on points with Tom Raven equally static in second. Ian Bennell closes up three points to the leaders to remain in third position thanks to Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff and Green Sandpiper.

Two patchers got bonus points for Honey Buzzards this month as migrants graced Roger Murfitt and James McCulloch's patches. Bird of the month was undoubtedly the spotty Spotted Sandpiper at Sutton Bingham Reservoir which was unearthed by Tim Farr. Tim didnt manage a photo sadly so we have a Common Sandpiper in as proxy. A Gannet graced Blagdon Lake and Nigel Milbourne managed to connect with the bird whilst at Dinton Pastures there was a Nightjar roosting openly in a tree for Marek Walford to enjoy. Ashley Boelens managed to see a Great White Egret on patch at Manor Farm and over at East Verwood, Mark Andrews scored with an Osprey.


Friday, 9 September 2016

Midlands Minileague - August 2016

Gannet at Belvide - Steve Nuttall
John Clarkson remains top of the Midlands comparative minileague adding 6% this month with his second patch record of Marsh Harrier and his first Reed Warbler and Osprey. Tom Shields jumps from fourth to second on 111% and challenging hard. His best bird was proper #patchgold with a Purple Sandpiper at Holme Pierrepoint. Other goodies included Bittern, Little Stint and Sandwich Tern. Nick Crouch slides to third on 108% after adding Tree Sparrow and Whinchat.








Erik Ansell remains at the tip of the pyramid and maintains his 5 point lead thanks to Little Stint, Long-tailed Duck and Curlew Sandpiper at Rutland. Steve Nuttall splits the Rutland patchers thanks to the Gannet featured above plus Black-necked Grebe, Tree Pipit and Ruff. Rod Baker drops to third but is only a decent find away from top spot after also adding Long-tailed Duck this month.

Temmick's Stint at Whisby - Ben Ward
Bonus points were in limited supply but Ben Ward managed to find a Temminck's Stint at Whisby for 3 extras. Many patchers had scarcer waders featuring this month and Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint and Spotted Redshank were widespread highlights as were Spotted Flycatchers, Whinchats and Redstarts. There was an Osprey for Carl Cornish and Andy Mackay connected with a Great White Egret at Eyebrook whilst Sam Pitt Miller got far too excited about a Red-crested Pochard (6 exclamation marks?).





Patchgold Goosander - Dave Roberts at Marston STW

Islands Minileague - August 2016

Steve Minton's garden Arctic Warbler
August marks the beginning of autumn, especially on the isles where the first migrants are more obvious. This months blog post features a fine array of bits and pieces including Steve Minton's Arctic Warbler which has taken up residence in his Scatness garden. This bird takes him over 100% and top of the comparative league from 6th last month. Additionally Steve found an Icterine Warbler to round off a productive start to the autumn. The long-time leader, David Wood, slips to second place but he also cracked the 100% barrier this month. Ian T is just a sliver behind on a square 100% thanks to a brace of patch ticks in Black Guillemot and Osprey.



Steve Stansfield has an August to savour as he found a host of bonus point scorers including multiple Melodious and Icterine Warblers, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Citrine Wagtail and an Ortolan Bunting. This keeps him top despite some fine birds elsewhere. John Bowler strikes back in second with a Pacific Golden Plover. Steve Minton's garden birds move him into third place.

Pacific Golden Plover at Balephuill - John Bowler 
Other highlights include a Leach's Petrel for Mark Newell on the Isle of May, Roseate Tern on Scilly for John Headon and Storm Petrel for Alastair Forsyth. Barrie Hamill added Wryneck on Burray and Stuart Taylor at Balivanich added Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper to his patch list whilst also being graced by successfully breeding Mealy Redpoll.