Thursday, 13 November 2014

Ireland Minileague - October

October brought no change to the top five rankings in the Irish Minileague Points table with Dave Suddaby at Blacksod still at the helm, a purple patch resulting in an additional 14 species and 47 points since last month culminating in a mighty 1.80 points per bird score. Niall Keogh at Kilcoole clings on to second with the addition of two new species and Neal Warnock at Larne Lough stays steady in fourth despite adding seven new species in October. No change for Julian Wyllie at Baltimore or Eamonn O'Donnell at Ninch/Laytown in third and fifth place respectively. 

The big change in the Comparative League comes as Dave's bonus finds shoot him up to first place with a lofty 108.5%, usurping the O'Donnells from their first/second place tussle of recent months. Each of the top three percentages scores are above 100% followed by four above 90% and two above 80%. Neal Warnock makes it to fifth place here after a good month on Rathlin Island.

The undoubted find of the month came in the form of that jewel of the east, a Red-flanked Bluetail found by Dave Suddaby near his Blacksod garden. The first county record for Mayo and the fourth Irish record overall. Well worthy of 15 points. This bird did the honourable thing and hung around long enough for many to make the journey to twitch it. Niall Keogh also scored an eastern passerine with a vocal Siberian Chiffchaff at Newcastle resulting in a couple of extra rare subspecies points (SPLIT! I hear you shout?)...

Four patch ticks on Rathlin Island for Neal Warnock came in the form of Tree Pipit (a great record for Northern Ireland), Sooty Shearwater, Mediterranean Gull and Little Gull. Neal's Garden Warbler on Rathlin is also worthy of mention, as every scarce passerine found there is a hard won victory. Other scarcities coming in on the score submission forms include a Spotted Redshank at Broad Lough for Alan Lauder and a Balearic Shearwater at Brownstown Head for Paul Walsh. Despite already being over 100%, I'm sure Michael O'Donnell was releaved to finally add Skylark in October at Kilmichael!

Back of the camera pic of the Blacksod Red-flanked Bluetail. Highlight of the Autumn for many Irish birders © Dave Suddaby

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