Sunday, 26 April 2015

Coastal East Anglia Minileague - March 2015

Craig Fulcher is still in the lead in the comparative table on the East Anglian Coast with 52% thanks to some early migrants ahead of James Brown at Lowestoft who is 2% back. Our own Ryan Irvine is in third place on 49%.

Tim Hodge moves up into third place with White-tailed Eagle his highlight as Robert Smith fails to make any additions and slips to third. Splitting them is James Brown who managed to Red Kite, Great Northern Diver and Spotted Redshank this time out. There were only a handful of new scores for March and several bemoaned the lack of anything new - lets hope April brings something special.

Coastal South - March 2015

Paul Freestone stays top with his Gwithian patch despite no new additions. Andy Rhodes and Peter Hazelwood close the gap and remain in the same positions with Peter adding Firecrest.

Joe Stockwell has extended his lead to eight points thanks to a productive March including a Bonaparte's Gull which he had to be assisted to see by his better half after a heavy night out. Ilya Maclean moves up a spot into second thanks to a self-found Ring-billed Gull and Siberian Chiffchaff at Loe Pool. Lee Fuller at Needs Ore moves from eighth to third  with Red-necked Grebe, Jack Snipe and Water Pipit on his hit list. The highlights from around the patches include another Ring-billed Gull for Dan Chaney and Sean Foote also connected with the Bonaparte's Gull at Ferrybridge.  

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Ireland Minileagues - March 2015

The Ireland Comparative Minileague has a new leader at the end of March as Eamonn O'Donnell's excellent run at Ninch/Laytown continues with seven new species added including a self found male Surf Scoter leaving him close to 86%. Neal Warnock moves up from fifth to third with 72.024% at Larne Lough (Scaup his best bird of the month) and it's good to see some inland patches earning places in the top five with Alan Lauder's Carrick Mountain patch in fourth and Niall Keogh's South Dublin Parks patch in a close second to Eamonn's first place position with less than 1% separating the two (a Woodcock and a pair of prospecting Stock Doves for Niall were nice highlights for his suburban parklands site).

A flurry of scores updated from other patch veterans sees the comp league jump from nine contestants to fourteen by the end of the first quarter. Looking forward to seeing how the rest of them get on over the coming months with some of their recent highlights including a Kumlien's Gull for Tim Murphy at Killough & St. John's Point, an adult Ring-billed Gull for Dave Suddaby at Blacksod, a Black-throated Diver for Julian Wyllie at Baltimore and a #fullfatpatchtick Mute Swan for Neal Warnock on Rathlin Island!

Eamonn's comp score rampage has also seen him take the lead on the Ireland Points Minileague table knocking Neal's previous top spot position at Larne last month down to third with Niall at Kilcoole filling in for second place thanks to a productive month with eight year ticks including Little Gull, Wheatear and Sandwich Tern making him the first to get over the ton on species total. A total of seven contestants are now well over 100 points with several more close behind.

The points per bird title goes to Dave at Blacksod for the time being with 1.352. He has added eleven species since his last update as has Julian at Baltimore. Eight new species for Arlo Jacques at Tramore included Short-eared Owl and Spotted Redshank as well as a cracking find in the form of a 2nd calendar-year Bonaparte's Gull which hung around for quite some time, allowing many to twitch it! What a superb patch that is turning out to be.

We welcome two new contestants to the points table, both from Dublin. The highlight of Noel Keogh's South Dublin Bay efforts to date include one of the regular Ring-billed Gulls at Sandymount Strand and 3 Gadwall plus 4 Pochard off Irishtown in February... real #patchgold stuff there. Mark Carmody enters his Dublin 2 patch where a Buzzard was most notable for an urban region of the capital.

Cathal Forkan, the sole representative of Next Generation Birders in the Ireland Minileague, added a 2nd-winter Glaucous Gull to his tally at North Galway Bay and Julian Wyllie heads up the non-motorised 'Green' section at Baltimore with a very respectable 80 species.

Keep an eye on the 'unofficial' Ireland Inland Minileague down at the bottom of the points table. Three patches battling it out in their own right! If we get anymore entries from inland patches then who knows, we may have to set up another 'official' minileague for them! Watch this space...

Niall is the first contestant to surpass 1,000 records for BirdTrack at Kilcoole with a worthy mention also going to both Neal at Larne and Julian at Baltimore for entries of 600+ records from their patches.

Bonaparte's Gull at Tramore ©  Mícheál Cowming

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

NGB Minileagues - March 2015

A new month for the NGB league and now there is the comparative score table to go alongside the points league. My own university patch tops the league with a comparative score of nearly 82%, however with the resident species all but mopped it it will prove difficult to stay ahead of the chasing pack. James Common's impressive run at Stobbswood sees him second in the comparative scores thanks to both Bewick's and Whooper Swans turning up on patch, the former a patch lifer. Another university patch rounds off the top 3, Jake Gearty at the classic birding university of UEA.

Onto the points league and it's the a repeat at the top where Anthony Bentley heads the table with Joe Stockwell still hot on his heels in second. Anthony added 10 points at Frampton including a Great Northern Diver whilst Joe faired slightly better with 13 additional points including the Bonaparte's Gull which he managed to get his girlfriend to drive him to after a heavy night out in town. Joe will have to watch his back as spring progresses as Jonathan Farooqi had a cracking month in the north-east adding 21 points to take the final podium position including two patch firsts in the form of Willow Tit and Red-legged Partridge.

Looking further down the league and it is good to see the return of Bardsey's Ben Porter after a few months abroad at the start of the year. Straight in at 12th I'm sure we will see him climb up the league as spring dawns. The highlights section of the score submissions held a classic sweep of late winter visitors such as Red-necked Grebe for Lee Fuller, Brambling for Rhys Chivers and Short-eared Owl for Daniel Gornall, mixed with the first returning migrants including a very early Little Ringed Plover for Matthew Bruce at The Puddle on the 9th.

April has seen the regular summer migrants appear in droves and a fair few scarcer species thrown into the mix, will any NGB's be able to capitalise on the migration?

Inland South - March 2015

Tom Stevenson continues to out-do himself at Ewelme and Battle Farm with comparative scores of 86 and 77% respectively to hold onto the top two spots in the Inland South comparative minileague. Roger Hicks stays in third place 7% back on 70% with a Woodcock boosting his score.

Lee Evans has had a decent month at Tring and squeaks to the top of the points table 15 points ahead of Ian Bennell who lies in 10th and shares a patch with some decent bits and pieces including Scaup. In second Adam Bassett at Little Marlow is only a point behind with Goshawk his biggest hitter (alongside the semi-resident Great White Egret). Graham White at Rye Mead rises to third in his debut year with Jack Snipe his March highlight.

Three patches recorded Goshawk this month and two managed Kittiwake this month which makes an Inland patchers day. A dribble of early migrants and a few Red Kites were also added around the minileague.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Inland East Anglia Minileague - March 2015

A quiet March for Nick Robinson but his three points gained were still enough to keep him top of then Inland EA comparative table, cresting 90%. 11% behind in second is Ben Rackshaw at Downham Market while Nick Moran has been deposed from the podium and slumps to 7th place (not alot between 2nd and 10th in all honesty). Ben Moyes in Gipping Valley takes advantage to move into third.

Jamie Wells and Ben Lewis are used to duking it out at the top and find themselves in first and second respectively and it only took until March for their now familiar bilateral points domination to start but an interloper has appeared in joint second - Mr Birdtrack himself is level with Ben thanks to a Common Redpoll at Thetford. To be fair to Nick he was in second in February but how long can he hang on?

March's highlights were topped by 5 Cranes for Alison Allen at Thorpe-next-Haddiscoe with bonus points for finding them. A Great White Egret at UEA was a handy three points for a couple of the NGB patchers as Jake and Michael both connected. Despite this they are third and fourth/last in the UEA mini-minileague. Elsewhere Black Redstart at Surlingham and a sprinkling of Sand Martins, Little Ringed Plovers and Chiffchaffs were the best of it.  

Monday, 20 April 2015

Islands Minileague - March 2015

The calm before the storm in the Islands minileague with (I assume) bonus points being scored throughout April this table may already be well out of date but some of the less migrant heavy patches have made a great start to 2015. Bryan Rains' patch in the South-west of Mull is idyllic when the sun shines and while he waits for Corncrakes to return he has been doing rather well with a Ring-billed Gull in the garden which means he moves from third to first place in the comparative table. David Wood in second is only 1.5% behind and he managed a slightly commoner larid visitor with an Iceland Gull on the Oa, Islay. Last months comparative leader, Paul Higson, had a rather quieter month but he isnt far back.

John Bowler has pulled clear with a 27 point advantage already on Tiree thanks to a Bonaparte's Gull. A self-found Blue-winged Teal however fails to register points as it was on Madeira... Paul H is in second place for points while Burray Barrie is in third as the top three hold station.

Best bits away from what has already been mentioned was another Ring-billed Gull on St Mary's for John Headon. One might speculate that he may have added a rather larger visitor to his patch list over the last 7 days. Elsewhere returning white-wingers were a theme with multiple glaucs and Icelands noted.