Sunday, 23 October 2016

Wales Minileague - September 2016

Mike Cram continues to tip away at Broughton and Llangennith where a Turnstone brings him to 119%. What a year he has had. Mike mentioned in the score submission form comments that he was going hell for leather on the patch during October so his lead in the Wales Comparative Minileague might well be sealed if he gets any more year ticks! 

Henry Cook adds Scaup and Yellow-legged Gull at RSPB Conwy, taking him to third place on 111% which will be close enough to keep fellow patch birder Julian Hughes on his toes. Julian was kind enough to join us for a chat on the most recent PWC Podcast and gave us a great insight into his patch at RSPB Conwy from where he currently sits in second place on 113%. Well worth a listen! Podcast link here

Garganey at RSPB Conwy (c) Henry Cook (flickr page)

A stunning 1cy Little Gull at Cardiff Bay (c) Peter Howlett

Richard Dobbins and Wendy James are both off to Costa Rica on a ringing trip and won't be back until November so this might give other contestants a chance to catch up with the Teifi duo in the Wales Points Minileague. Barry Stewart could use this to his advantage and get his Burry Inlet patch into first place.

Knot was a patch first for Ceri Jones at Cosmeston, Sully and Lavernock. No doubt a welcome addition to the suite of impressive BirdTrack lists there! 

While Julian didn't manage to find a Wryneck at RSPB Conwy as per his podcast prediction, David Ripley got in on the Jynx action with one at Ogmore Estuary.

David Carrington reports a lean month at Sker and Kenfig but still added Kingfisher, Green Sandpiper, Knot and Goshawk while Alex Jones enjoyed some nice wader passage at Rhyl with up to three Little Stints, four Ruff, four Greenshank and five Curlew Sandpipers.

The ever increasing BirdTrack stats in the Wales Minileague finished up at 2,889 lists and 61,946 records by the months end.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Coastal Scotland Minileague - September 2016

September brings lots of activity to the Coastal Scotland Comparative Minileague with almost every contestant increasing their comp scores.

Chris Rodger remains in first pace at Musselburgh, now on a hefty 116.9% after adding bonus points in the form of Long-tailed Skua.

Light-bellied Brent Geese at Musselburgh (c) Chris Rodger

Mike Hodgkin and Stephen Welch continue to battle it out for second place with Mike taking the spot this month but only by a matter of .01%!!! His gains were more significant compared to last months score with a four skua day on 11th September increasing his Aberlady Bay comp score from 100% to 107%. It was a Black-tailed Godwit at Gosford Bay which helped Stephen move from 105% to 107%, the species being less than annual there.

Tor Hamilton becomes the fourth contestant to reach 100% in the minileague, doing so at Leith.

Long-tailed Skuas certainly proved popular, Colin Davison also getting in on the action here, bumping up his points score at Scoughall to 222, taking him into first place from third by 1 point! This moves Mike and Chris down to second and third respectively.

Yellow-browed Warbler was bound to make it onto a patch list somewhere here during September and it was Andrew Whitehouse who listed it as a highlight for the month. More to come no doubt!

Some serious challenges for ranking position are being made across the Coastal Scotland Minileague as September draws to a close. With October to play for, it could get very interesting here!

Inland Scotland Minileague - September 2016

Still awaiting the first contestant to reach 100% in the Inland Scotland Comparative Minileague at the end of September but several contestants are making progress on that front. Chris Pendlebury's only addition for the month from his multitude of patches was a Spotted Flycatcher at Stirling, new for his patch list and his office list! This takes him to 93.5% and third place there.

Graeme Garner moves into second place at Cambus, now on 94.8% while a fine duo of Black-tailed Godwit and Stonechat at Kilmany takes Andy Cage to 93% on the dot at Kilmany. 

Little movement on the Inland Scotland Points Minileague table save for Graeme Garner's Clackmannan patch which moves from fifth to fourth place thanks to a Long-tailed Duck there which leaves him on 95 species and 102 points by the end of the month. Five contestants are now over 100 points.

Some welcome additions during the month included a flyover Rock Pipit at Liberton West for Geoff Morgan and Kestrel finally made it onto Mike Hodgkin's patch year list at Penicuik Estate. 

Crested Tit is very much a specialty of the Inland Scotland Minileague and Jonathan Clarke added one to his patch year list at Croy while out for a run!

Nina O'Hanlon bows out of #PWC2016 at Kelvingrove but for very good reason, she gets to spend the rest of the autumn on Fair Isle... we won't blame you! 

Monday, 17 October 2016

Inland South - September 2016

Ortolan - Nick Croft at Wanstead
Stephanie starts to find herself being closed down at the top of the comparative minileague after a second blank month. Tim Farr springs from fifth to second thanks to a double dose of bonus points for Pectoral Sandpiper and Blue-headed Wagtail. Dropping to third is Richard Scantlebury in Bristol who fails to add this month. Roger Murfitt becomes the seventh member of the 100% club this month thanks to the first site Curlew Sandpiper in 9 years at Moor Green Lakes. There are a further 9 patchers in the 90%+ bracket so expect further additions next time out.

Tom Raven reclaims top spot at Shapwick Heath/Ham Wall after the additions of Pectoral Sandpiper and Black-necked Grebe although there were no bonus points this time. Still no further update from Brendan Sheils at Trent Manor farm but he remains in second whilst at Blagdon, Nigel Milbourne is in third place after usurping Ian Bennell. Nigel added the third site record of Spoonbill this month.

Spotted Flycatcher - Chris Bessant at Maple Cross
Elsewhere there was an Ortolan found by Nick Croft at Wanstead. Adam Bassett had a Brent Goose and Jack Snipe at Little Marlow GPs and Chris Bessant had a Spotted Flycatcher at Maple Cross. At Grimsbury, Gareth Blockley managed to connect with his first Marsh Tit in three years. James McCulloch had a Black Tern at Hedgecourt NR on the lake. Redstart and Garganey were Marek Walford's star birds this month at Dinton pastures. Martin Kettell gets in on the act with a patch Bar-tailed Godwit as did Steve Chastell whilst Roger Hicks also got in on the waders with Greenshank and a patch first Grey Plover. Martin Wood scored with a Little Gull which was his first on patch at Longham Lakes. Finally at Puddletown there was a Wryneck for Ollie Thomas but alas just the three points this time.  

Coastal Ireland Minileague - September 2016

September brought three new year ticks for Noel Keogh at South Dublin Bay with Black Tern in the autumn roost at Sandymount Strand (up to 17,000 Sterna terns there!) plus Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint with the Dunlin at Merrion Gates. His first place position in the Coastal Ireland Comparative Minileague is in safe hands for the moment thanks to a comp score of 112%.

Richard Donaghey reached 100% with a couple of patch tick Black Terns at the Bann Estuary, holding on to second place for another month. Eleanor Keane is plugging away in third place, adding Crossbill during the month at Killiney Hill to Dun Laoghaire coast.

Cathal Forkan had a great month for waders at his North Galway Bay patch with a fine duo of Baird's Sandpiper and Long-billed Dowitcher at Rusheen Bay hanging around long enough for him to catch up with them plus Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and Little Gull also present. Quite a productive spot! This purple patch moves Cathal up from seventh to fourth place with 95%.

Spotted Redshank and Long-billed Dowitcher at Rusheen Bay (c) Cathal Forkan

Tacumshin Lake continues to lead the way in the Coastal Ireland Points Minileague where Noel Keogh added Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Osprey and Grey Phalarope plus some #patchgold in the form of Grey Wagtail and Siskin. He finishes the month with 155 species and 230 points.

September proved fruitful for many other contestants with plenty of welcome additions featured in the monthly score submission form comments.

In third place on the points table, Chris O'Sullivan added Common Tern and Little Gull at Clonakilty/Inchydoney. Manx Shearwater, Curlew Sandpiper and Chough were new for Tom Moore at Kilmore Quay. Spotted Redshank and Wheatear brought autumn with them to Graham Johnston's work based patch around the Marine Institute offices at Rinville. Roseate Tern and Little Stint at RPSB Belfast Harbour were eclipsed by a #patchgold Kingfisher for Derek Polley.

September produced no less than seven new species for Niall Keogh at his new Galway City patch with Raven, Common Sandpiper and #patchgold Pheasant at Lough Atalia, a couple of Little Gulls along Claddagh Strand and a fine seabird trio of Leach's Storm-petrel, Great Skua and Pomarine Skua in the bay off Mutton Island during some westerlies.

Tim Murphy provides us with an update from St John's Point in Co. Down where his patch birding efforts throughout the year have brought him to 113 species, 136 points and 78.6% so far. His highlights during the month of September include excellent views of Tree Pipit and some lunge feeding Minke Whales offshore.

Grey Phalarope at Tacumshin, looking a little worse for wear (c) Noel Keogh

Inland Ireland Minileague - September 2016

An update from Upper Rathduff puts Michael John O'Mahony firmly back in first place on the Inland Ireland Comparative Minileague table with a whopping 114% aided by additions of Sedge Warbler, Curlew, Sand Martin and Black-headed Gull up to the end of August (but with no new species seen in September).

With a strong lead like this entering the final quarter of the year, Michael's score will be hard to beat. Alan Lauder added Crossbill at Carrick Mountain, edging him ever closer to his 100% target. 

Derek Charles consolidates his lead on the Inland Ireland Points Minileague table at Lough Neagh South Shore by being the first contestant to cross the 100 points barrier. Yellow-legged Gull is a scarce enough species in Northern Ireland so one of those was most welcome on Derek's patch but even rarer and more surprising was the Nightjar seen thereafter! A fantastic bird for the region and one which Derek was surely not expecting to get! His Points Per Bird score has now reached a respectable 1.167, the highest in the minileague.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Coastal East Anglia Minileague - August 2016

James Brown continues his dominance in the Coastal East Anglian league matching his continuing lead at the top of the point lead with a table topping performance in the comparative. Additions of Wryneck, Sooty Shearwater and Curlew Sandpiper ensured that he surpassed Rob Hall who drew a blank month in August. Both are still neck and neck for the title.
The Wryneck at Corton which helped James Brown take top spot in the comparative league. c/o Ben Moyes
Whilst no-one has reached the 100% barrier yet, September and October will hopefully provide a few bonus pointers to push people on to the ultimate goal of PWC, to beat your own score.


In the points league, James Brown has built up what looks to be an unassailable lead. The battle for the podium spots however is much tighter with just 4 points separating Justin Zantboer and Nige Lound, both of whom had relatively quiet months.

The distraction of Birdfair was one of the reasons for a fairly quiet month on the East Anglian coastline. Other highlights included another Wryneck for Tommy Corcoran at Great Yarmouth and a Cattle Egret was a fine addition to the patchlist at Cley for Luke Nash. A seawatch at Southwold produced a Balearic Shearwater for Craig Fulcher whose highlights also included a patch record count of 7 Little Stint. Final highlights were Pied Flycatcher and Yellow-Legged Gull, both perhaps expected late summer fare at Happisburgh.