Here's a summary of February's contenders for the Meopta and Forest optic best find competition...
I think we were a little spoiled perhaps back in January. As well as the attention grabbing Gyrfalcon and White billed diver, we had refind kumliens gull, a plethora of green-winged teal and ring billed gulls, as well as non-find white billed diver, and Bonaparte's gull.
In comparison, February was, well, quiet.
Thats not to say that there were not any interesting records. Wildfowl and gulls featured high among many patchers highlights, with Iceland and Caspian gulls being prominent, and Bewicks swans and rare geese such as Tundra beanies providing excitement. Waxwings also got plenty of mentions on the February scorecard, and, even in a good year when it's sometimes difficult not to see them, waxwings will brighten up any day on patch.
More interesting perhaps were some slightly unseasonal records. A Richards pipit appeared at Hesketh out Marsh - not unheard of in winter of course, but perhaps more unusual was the Temminck's stint that showed up at Steart, in Somerset.
Perhaps the rarest birds feature as a result of a change in the rules regarding scoring points for rare subspecies. Several patchers had emailed us to ask about scoring points for rare subspecies so we came up with a list (a few blog posts back) of acceptable subspecies and the points you can score for them. As such, goodies such as Siberian chiffchaff and black brant are worth something, and are certainly worth reporting among your highlights!
Well, March is nearly half way through already but I guess it's not too late to make a wee prediction for the best bird for this month.
It's a toss up between one for the north and one for the south - so I'll keep my options open and predict them both! Up north, someone could well get lucky with a Ross's gull. And I hope that it's me. Down south, and bird-wise half a world away, someone will stumble over a great spotted cuckoo. You heard it here first.....