So, who are the crazy people organising this challenge? Well to be honest we were expecting a maximum of 20 patches and thought "ah, it'll be easy to organise". So here we are less than a week after starting up and the number of patches is 55 and growing! We've both been involved in competitive patching for a few years, each with slightly different rules. We decided we wanted to try and make a national competition and combined the rules. So here we are:
Mark Lewis (aka Fat Paul Scholes)
I've been birding for as long as I can remember. I started when I was about 5, because my dad took it up, and when you're 5, whatever your dad does is cool. If only I'd known....
I birded around Durham (with frequent visits to the Tees marshes, Hartlepool, and the Northumberland coast) until the age of 18, at which point I decided to spend a couple of years wasting time and money getting kicked out of Aberdeen university for never turning up. Aberdeen has got a 24 hour pie shop though so I decided to hang around. I've now spent almost as much of my life up here as I did down south, and apart from a few weeks each year birding on Ouessant (Brittany) and Sanday (Orkney), I pretty much do all of my birding at Girdle ness. I also work in an office that is on-patch so can frequently be found looking out of the window. At least I turn up now...
Ryan Irvine (aka ....... Ryan!)
Been birding for 25 years but only got seriously in to birding at Uni where I spent 4 years with the infamous Aberdeen Uni Bird Club, where I met FPS. Since then I have moved around working for the RSPB and such like in Edinburgh, North Wales and Cornwall before settling down in East Anglia for the past 4 years and finding my patch at Hemsby. Hemsby borders the more famous site of Winterton (black lark fame) but is a prime east coast site where very few birders visit.
I'm also the person to blame for the points system we use but in my defence I felt that a self found OBP deserved more than a twitched robin, hence the birdguides and finds system of scoring. My strategy for the competiton is pretty awful to be honest with most of the peak period of autumn normally spent in a wee village in Shetland, so the chances of me winning are pretty slim!
So there we are, two geeky birders becoming slightly more geeky and Mark is probably gone over and beyond geekiness in his last post!