Monday, 24 November 2014

Bresser and Forest Optics Best Find - October 2014

The Bresser & Forest Optics Best Find Competition is the highlight of the Patchwork Challenge year. This is the best find of the whole patchbirding year as voted for by you, the competitors. 

For the winner of the competition, those fine folk at Bresser & Forest Optics are very generously furnishing the winner of this esteemed competition with a pair of Bresser Montana 8.5 x 45 Binoculars worth £665.00. Follow the link to check out this superb reward for one lucky contender.

October was great month with many good birds in the British Isles including Yellow-billed Cuckoo in Cornwall and Black-billed Cuckoo in North Ronaldsay.  However great these birds are, as they were not found by patchworkers, they don't qualify for the competition and have to be ignored. Another near miss for the competition was Pallid Harrier - one was found by Roger Musgrove but sadly not on patch, whilst Dick Best had one on patch but wasn't the finder, so close chaps but yet so far.

Arguably the best Patch Work Challenge find for October was the Brunnich's Guillemot seen by Martin Garner on his Flamborough Head North patch. This bird was a distant fly-by and although a couple of others got on to the bird briefly as is often the case with sea watching, the bird was gone in a matter of moments. This 15 pointer has got to be in with a chance in the competition for the binoculars. Shame it didn't hang around for a bit as there would have been a queue of Yorkshire birders to get the second bird for the county on their lists. However it makes me question how many may be missed due to observers not thoroughly 'grilling' the various auks that they see?

Another 15 point beauty was the red-flanked bluetail found by Dave Suddaby  on his Blacksod patch, the first record for county Mayo and only the fourth for Ireland. As this bird hung around for a bit a good many birders managed to connect with it. I really like Dave's back of the camera picture as it puts quite a few record shots to shame but John's portrait really brings out the beauty of the bird.

Red-flanked bluetail - Blacksod (Dave Suddaby)

Same bird (John N Murphy)

Ben Lewis at his Mid Yare RSPB patch managed to find a Penduline Tit, always a nice bird no matter where you are and Ben says it is possibly the highlight of his year.

There were several Rough-Legged Buzzards in the UK during October and a few patch workers managed to catch up with them, oddly enough all in East Anglia although birds were throughout the country. Gary Elton at Holme NOA, Tim Hodge at Horsey and Toby Collett at Frampton Marsh all scored handsomely with the species. 

Rough legged Buzzard - Frampton Marsh (Toby Collett)

Same Bird (Toby Collett)
Finally back to North Ronaldsay once more but this time for Peter Donnelly who managed to find both Olive-backed and Pechora Pipits during October, actually 3 of the first species, it almost makes up for dipping the cuckoo.

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