Sunday, 29 May 2016

Coastal North Minileague - April 2016

After lying second by a sliver last month, Ash Baines takes over at the top in the comparative table for the Coastal North Minileague after reaching 82%. He adds Grasshopper Warbler, Redstart and Short-eared Owl this time out. Pete Marsh is in second place, just 1% behind after adding Slavonian Grebe at Heysham. John Chapman at Whitburn is in third place on 70% and a sliver ahead of last months leader, Stewart Sexton, as John adds a brace of Cranes to net 6 points.

Mick Turton adds thirty points in April to reinforce his lead over Ross Ahmed at South Tyneside. Mich added Crane but his most satisfying tick was Water Rail after missing out in 2015. Ross' endeavours this month saw Hooded Crow, Avocet and Willow Tit fall to his points cannon. Nick Addey overhauls Jonathan Farooqi to move into the top three on 174 points although fellow Long Nabber, Chris Bradshaw found the Short-toed Lark that graced Scarborough last month and Nick makes do with three points.

Mealy Redpoll - Stewart Sexton
Outwith the podium places there were migrants all round with Dotterel, Black-necked Grebe and Crane for Andy Hood at Flamborough. Alan Crossley managed to add Great White Egret as this species becomes ever commoner. There was a Goshawk for Chris Small at Green Lane whilst Dave Fletcher added Whimbrel and Osprey. Both Duncan Watson and Will Scott added Black Redstart as Iain Johnson adds Bonxie and Iceland Gull. Gary Storey had the pleasure of a close encounter with a Short-eared Owl and James Common connected with a rather late White-fronted Goose on the Blyth Estuary.

Estuarine Minileague - April 2016

Peter Hazelwood moves up from 4th place to top the Estuarine Minileague on 88.75% with Ring Ouzel this months highlight. Gordon Hodson is less than 1% behind in second place moving up from 6th. Martin Elcoate rounds off the top three maintaining his position for a second month after adding Bonaparte's Gull which went on a wander from its Dawlish Warren base.

Bonaparte's Gull, Topsham - Martin Elcoate

In the points league Dave Craven stays top with a 19 point lead at Hale and Pickering pastures. Glossy Ibis and Channel Wagtail were the highlights amongst several decent migrants. Paul Sullivan is in second spot leading the Lincs Wash Reserves contingent on 180 points after finding a Red-rumped Swallow. Daniel Newton is on 177 points after adding Ring Ouzel and Wood Sandpiper at the same location.

Good finds outside the top three included a Spoonbill at Hesketh Out Marsh for Stuart Derbyshire. There was a Little Ringed Plover patch tick for Dave Jones at Lytchett Bay whilst Graham Jones at Hesketh Out Marsh added the same species and Water Pipit to his patch list. There was an Iceland Gull for Ian Ballam at Holes Bay and Peter Williams added Whimbrel and Bearded Tit on the muddy banks of the Humber. Finally Andy Jordan added Short-eared Owl at Sharpness and Elliot Montieth managed a Sandwich Tern in the docks at Birkenhead.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Inland North Minileague - April 2016

April sees many Inland North patches beginning to spring into life. Lots of cracking birds recorded and a few bonus points for those lucky enough to find them. Andy Bunting locked onto a Siberian Chiffchaff at WWT Martin Mere, while Green-winged Teal graced Duncan Bye's Wheldrake Ings patch. Elsewhere, Findlay Wilde spotted Ruddy Shelduck at Windsford Flash but saving the best for last - George Dunbar was given a slight shock when White-crowned Sparrow causally dropped by at Woolston Eyes.

White-crowned Sparrow (Credit: David Bowman)

In addition to regular migrants, other highlights for the month included Garganey for Bill Aspin at Brockholes Nature Reserve LWT and Adrian & John at Northwich Woodlands. An unexpected patch first Little Ringed Plover for Steven Ward at Hawes. Little Ringed Plover also dropped in for Keith Dickinson at Adel Dams/Breary Marsh/Eccup Reservoir providing him with a patch tick and at Norton Common for David Franklin (another patch tick!). Green Woodpecker gave Mark Doveston a patch tick at Riddlesden & Whetstone but his personal highlight was seeing three pairs of buzzards displaying on territory (almost unheard of in the Aire Valley!). 

Moving onto the leagues, David Franklin is keeping a tight grip on the two top spots in the Inland North Comparative league. He's pushed past the 100% milestone with his Campsall CP & S Instoneville patch and has broken the 100% barrier with his Askern patch. In third, John Law at Old Moor/ Adwick has pushed on from 11th adding a further 29 species.

John Law takes the top spot in the points league this month moving up from third position and swapping places with Duncan Bye at Wheldrake Ings. Andy Bunting at WWT Martin Mere jumps from fifth into second adding 35 species and 44 points for April.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Under 25 Minileague - April 2016

The top three remain static in the April Under 25 comparative minileague with Amy Robjohns heading things up thanks to four patch ticks in the month (Stone Curlew, Great White Egret, Dartford Warbler and Arctic Skua) taking her beyond the 100% mark. Rhys Chivers has pushed her all the way and finishes this time on 91% adding Wood Warbler, Avocet and Yellow-legged Gull. Ben Moyes completes the top three on 86% with a host of regular migrants including Cuckoo and Yellow Wagtail.

It is a different story in the points league with Joe Stockwell taking over at the top on 187 points with Amy just a brace behind. Joe added Balearic Shearwater and Pied Flycatcher to hold top spot and we know both have bagged bonus points in May so who knows how this will end? Jonathan Farooqi loses his share of second but remains on the podium this month at Druridge Bay although he remains a single point ahead of Erik Ansell.

Black Redstart - Will Scott
Outside the podium there were a number of good bits and pieces turned up with George Dunbar being on hand as part of the ringing team when the White-crowned Sparrow (photos coming on that minileague post) unexpectedly turned up at Woolston Eyes. A Ruddy Shelduck for Findlay Wilde scores a big fat 0 as there havent been any accepted birds in 50 years. To score points for this species in all likelyhood you will need a ringed bird (sorry Findlay...). Will Scott turned up a Black Redstart at Humanby while Ellis Lucas managed to connect with the Green-winged Teal at Wheldrake. Several folks intercepted Ospreys moving north this month as this species continues to become more abundent with each passing year. Edward Betteridge at Evesham had a Siberian Chiffchaff on patch. Dan Rouse had Slavonian Grebes on both of here patches including a brace at Morfa Bacas. Worst luck went to Dan Beadle who had an Iberian Chiffchaff 100 yards outside his patch boundary (was it not audible? points then...).

And just for giggles here is Amy's Glaucous Gull.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Coastal Ireland Minileague - April 2016

Noel Keogh is on the fast track to reaching his 100% target at South Dublin Bay with a suite of common migrants boosting him up to 96.3% and remaining in first place on the Coastal Ireland Comparative Minileague table.

Eamonn O'Donnell moves into second ahead of Eleanor Keane (second place holder in March) as he clocked up 12 migrants species in April at Ninch/Laytown including Whimbrel and Little Tern. Eleanor keep the momentum going in third place at Killiney Hill to Dun Laoghaire coast with a singing Whitethroat, a scarce species for the site. 

Richard Donaghey is climbing the ranks, moving up from eighth to fifth on 81.8% at the Bann Estuary. A breeding plumage Spotted Redshank was his find of the month.

No less than three patch ticks for Dave Suddaby in first place on the Coastal Ireland Points Minileague table. A splendid breeding plumaged Red-necked Grebe was backed up by Tufted Duck and Carrion Crow. All new and all welcome as they keep him one point ahead of Noel Keogh's Tacumshin patch. Noel connected with the long staying Cattle Egret during April but also lucked out with an impressive patch tick, a Sooty Shearwater seen from the sand dunes during a seawatch there. 

Christopher O'Sullivan is thoroughly enjoying his first year of taking part in PWC from the West Cork site of Clonakilty/Inchydoney. Two six-pointer finds came in quick succession with a Great White Egret and a drake American Wigeon.

American Wigeon and Great White Egret at Clonakilty/Inchydoney © Christopher O'Sullivan

Other highlights from around the country included Sooty Shearwater, Arctic Skua and perhaps more importantly a Whooper Swan (in terms of patch listing) for Julian Wyllie at Baltimore. Joe Proudfoot was surprised to see a kettle of 3 Buzzards and 2 Red Kites over his local park near Sandymount, a great local record. A Spotted Flycatcher was at Rinville for Graham Johnston, always good to get those in early and a duo of Ring-billed Gull and Iceland present at the RSPB Belfast reserve for Derek Polley.

The absolute cracker of the month was waiting for Neal Warnock on Rathlin Island. A beautiful, untagged immature White-tailed Eagle, which almost certainly came over from Scotland. His pics say it all! 

White-tailed Eagle at Rathlin Island © Neal Warnock

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Coastal South Minileague - April 2016

Four new patch ticks for Amy Robjohns saw her pass the comparative score for Titchfield Haven by a single point. As we know Amy has had a very successful May this will only grow... Her ticks this time out were Great White Egret, Stone Curlew, Dartford Warbler and Arctic Skua. Dick Best moves into second place in the comparative table after a profitable April. Steph Brown hangs onto third place with returning Chiffchaffs her highlight.

Despite adding 40 points in April, Amy Robjohns loses top spot to Joe Stockwell in Weymouth. He added Balearic Shearwater plus Pied Flycatcher and Cuckoo with the latter two new for the patch. Like Amy we know he has added bonus points in May so perhaps there will be a fight on for top spot next month. Sean Foote on North Portland is in third place just 2 points behind Amy. As well as finding a Hoopoe he also added Hawfinch and Iceland Gull.

Hoopoe at Portland - Sean Foote
Away from the podium places there has been plenty going on with spring hotting things up. Ilya Maclean added Woodchat and Hoopoe on the Lizard as well as finding Siberian Chiffchaff. Also getting in on the Hoopoe act was Andy Johnson at Sandy Bay who turned up his own one this month. Paul Bowerman adds Blue-headed Wagtail this month along with Garganey and Osprey in Somerset. Kev Rylands had a good month at Dawlish with Kentish Plover, Black Redstart and Roseate Tern although Willow Tit takes pride of place. Dan Beadle missed out as an Iberian Chiffchaff turned up 100 yards outside his patch. 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Islands Minileague - April 2016

April was a fairly decent month for many of the Island patchers. A couple of true #patchgold entries were submitted (Great Tit for John Bowler at Balephuil and Canada Goose for IanT at Askernish) along with a few other patch firsts in the form of Iceland Gull for Mark Newell on the Isle of May and Great White Egret for IanT at Askernish. Probably the highlight of the month for Steve Minton at Scatness was a pod of Orca cruising by. Although not birds, they're freaking awesome and I'm sure many of us would love them as a patch tick!

Credit: Steve Minton

After 10 weeks away in Spain, IanT returned in style and topped pole position of the Islands Comparative Minileague. On his return to patch, he added twenty-seven species, including two patch firsts (Great White Egret and Canada Goose) leaving him on 98 species and 78.8% for April. All but one patcher have at least broken the 50% milestone and are steadily adding species, and with only a few percent separating the top 3, May could see a change at the top again. 

Moving on to the Island Points Minileague, while points have increased, there's no change for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. John Bowler at Balephuil remains on the highest perch with some cracking birds added for the year (Corncrake, Manxie, Little Tern, Mealy Redpoll, and Lapland Bunting), while Paul Higson at Quoyangry clings on in 2nd despite not adding any species in April. Barrie Hamill at Burray is hot on Paul's heels in 3rd with finds including Hawfinch, Little Gull, and Black Redstart. As April ends, only one point separates 2nd and 3rd place.

Elsewhere, Bryan Rains had the first Iceland Gull for five year on patch at Pennyghael, Mull. Alastair Forsyth at Palace, Orkney also had Iceland Gull in addition to Carrion Crown (very uncommon) and Common Scoter which is less than an annual visitor to his patch. A drake Garganey graced Steve Minton's patch, while Bruce Taylor's highlights were Gropper at Brevig and White-billed Diver at Ardmhor.