Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Joining PWC 2015 - The Practicalities

PWC 2015 promises to be bigger and better than ever. Entry is simple, fill in the form on the right hand side of the blog at patchworkchallenge.blogspot.co.uk. The only information we need right now is your name, patch, league and whether or not you have taken part before. Click submit and your entry will be registered.

The only information here which you may not know is the league that you will be in, leave this blank if unsure and we will ensure that you are allocated to the appropriate league based on your patch location in time for the start of the challenge.

Later this month we will send out the rules and information required for next years competition, including details of any new rules and changes for 2015. This will include an update on the new website and database which should deliver even more value to participants as well as more information on birding trends. Keep your eye on the blog and social media for these updates!

Any questions, feel free to e-mail us and one of the team will be happy to respond.

In the meantime, if you are thinking of entering or have registered your entry for next year, here are some useful things that are good to know.

- Your patch must be no larger than 3 square kilometres. It can be any shape that you wish it to be as long as it is joined together. There is a mapping tool available as a link on the blog to help map out your patch. 

- All birds seen in or from your patch count. Therefore a bird seen outside your patch area but whilst you are standing in it can be added to your scores.

- PWC has it's own scoresheet which can be downloaded from the links box on the right hand side of the blog. Birds have a value of between 1 and 5 depending on rarity value. Birds scoring higher than 3 points receive additional points if they were found by the patcher. The best part is that the spreadsheet will calculate all of this this for you! All you have to do is type in the bird name and if it gives 3 points or more enter whether or not you found it and the scores will calculate automatically.

- The leagues are based on geographical location including different leagues depending on whether you are a coastal or inland patch.

- There are also leagues for green birding (no use of motorised transport) and an NGB members league.

- There are two types of scores, points score and comparative. The former is the straightforward score for the year. You can start scoring comparative in your second year with PWC. This will be a comparison to your previous year in the competition and will give a percentage. It is this that allows all patches to compete on a level playing field.

- We have prizes which will be announced by the end of the year .These include the Forest and Bresser Optics Best Find. A shortlist is drawn up at the end of the year, and then it is open for patchers to vote for the winner. A Semipalmated Plover won in 2013, just edging out an inland Pied Wheatear and a Mourning Dove This year there are a number of contenders, but the inland Blyth's Pipit this month will be a contender and shows that anything can turn up anywhere.

- We encourage participation in BirdTrack. We would love it if all competitors to put their data into this BTO initiative. It is easy and provides a vast swathe of data to the BTO from across the UK, including many under-watched areas. Many patchers already contribute and we hope this will increase next year.

- We plan to run events throughout the year, many in association with our partners. We work closely with Birdguides, BTO, Birdwatch magazine, Birding Frontiers, NGB and Trektellen.

- We have a social media presence on Twitter (@Patchbirding), Facebook and the blog. Join us and enjoy all of the latest updates, discussion and observations from patchers.

- We expect to have a new internet site and database for the end of December which will run alongside the blog. It should provide much more information and functionality and add to the PWC experience.

- Finally, PWC is about enjoying your birding above all. It is a hub for birders who all share the same love of birds and patch working. Whilst there may be competition with others, it adds enjoyment to your own birding experience too.


  1. Hello. I've signed up after reading about it on the BTO newsletter. Do I just wait now? And I have a lot of data on Birdtrack for my patch (although not for last year). Can this be used for comparison?

    And I sometimes show up as Jemima and sometimes as Jacky on these webpages. I've probably registered as Jacky.

  2. Hi Jacky,

    Welcome to the competition. All you need do is download the spreadsheet for recording your score from the right sidebar (not visible on mobile browsers) and then go birding. You are fully signed up now. Sadly out of competition comparative scores can't be used as peoples effort levels generally increase meaning the comparisons aren't meaningful against in competition scores. At the end of the month there will be a form to fill in similar to the registration form to record your January score and highlights. Soon there will be a new website which will have live score updates but we don't have a date for that going live yet. Hope this helps.

    Kind regards

    James Spencer

    On behalf of PWC

  3. Struggling to get going. I cant find an e mail on the site to ask questions. I have filled in the form, possibly twice, so am I registered and when do I find out? Would be much halpier using my regular e mail, can I do that or do I always have to use g mail?

    1. Hi Derek,

      You are registered - just checked the spreadsheet. If you want to email us then it is patchworkchallenge@gmail.com. No need to use a gmail account aside from posting comments on the blog afaik.

  4. I have filled in the form multiple times but have had no correspondence back. How do I up load the data I have generated fir January?

    1. Hi Christina,

      From the 25th or so at the end of each month, a monthly score submission form will appear on the right hand side of this blog.

      You will see cells where you can enter the relevant info (your name, patch name, minileague, green/under 25's, species, score, BirdTrack stats, any highlights or bonus point finds etc.).

      The form will stay up until the 5th of the following month at which points we take it down and process the scores for the monthly blogs, articles etc.

      The score submission form for February will be going up in the next few days so you can enter your Jan + Feb scores, stats, highlights etc. there.

      If you need anything else don't hesitate to ask.

      All the best,

  5. Hopefully I have registered correctly, I have gone with two entries (one for each local site I visit on a regular basis)and I have downloaded the spreadsheet. Is there any way you can confirm I have in fact registered please?

  6. Hi there,

    If you let us know your name and patch we can check for you to see if you've registered.

    All the best,