All the familiar faces held on to their respective positions in the Irish minileague points table top five ranking come the end of December 2014. The tallies were as follows...
Dave Suddaby at Blacksod lead the way, scoring well in a number of different categories. He finished with the highest overall points total of 268, some 69 points ahead of second place and also with the highest points per bird value of 1.81 which is a testament to his wealth of scarce and rares at hand on the patch. He also managed the second highest comparative score with 109.388% which will no doubt make 2014 a tough year to beat.
Niall T. Keogh at Kilcoole maintained his second place position with 199 points (just couldn't find another new bird!) and the highest single species total for a patch in Ireland with 152.
In this, his first year taking part in PWC, Julian Wyllie did extremely well coming in third place on the points table with 187 points from 126 species and a notable 1.48 points per bird. A special shout out goes to Julian's dedication to BirdTrack for which he complied the highest number of records and lists in the league with 2704 and 59 respectively.
Neal Warnock's first year at Larne Lough saw him take fourth place with 129 species and 168 points (looking forward to his efforts here in 2015) and Eamonn O'Donnell bested his 2014 score at Ninch/Laytown reaching 119 species and 150 points which placed him in fifth.
But PWC is ultimately all about competing against yourself and this is best shown in the comparative league table where Michael O'Donnell was the overall winner with an impressive 110.256% at his excellent local patch at Kilmichael where he clocked up 100 species and 129 points.
As mentioned previously, both Dave and Eamonn improved on their 2014 scores as did Tom Moore at Kilmore Quay who just crept over the 100% mark by a matter of 1 point. Both Niall and Neal (this time on Rathlin Island) managed to make it into the high 90%'s but a level score with 2013 just eluded them both.
Best Irish find of the year? Being both a first county and fourth Irish record, Dave's Red-flanked Bluetail at Blacksod is no doubt a contender and it certainly makes the overall PWC2014 Bresser & Forest Optics Best Find short list but then again his patch is at the south end of the Mullet peninsula and he was bound to pick up one at some stage (....I can hear him shouting at the computer screen now!) so I reckon, to be honest, that given the locality, time of year and significance to the patch, Michael O'Donnell's Barred Warbler at Kilmichael in November could possibly take that title in an Irish context?... Discuss!
The Blacksod Red-flanked Bluetail © John N. Murphy