So here we go again...
So far there are 38 entrants that fall into the Inland North category and it's perhaps no surprise that after a couple of 'test' years some of the big guns are giving it a go. This year we have the joy of welcoming well known sites such as (in no particular order) Nosterfield, North Duffield, Old Moor, Swinemoor, Wheldrake Ings, Tophill Low and Marton Mere all top sites with a good track record of inland rares.
So, for us established PWC birders, it will come as a relief that the comparative tables will in this year take precedence over the points table, and with 18 repeat offenders this should prove to be an interesting year.
Keith Dickinson heads the table already amassing a massive 78%, his modest highlights being Golden Plover and Little Grebe. Steven Ward lies in second with a Black Grouse, a new patch bird his surprise highlight.
The usual mid-table rabble of Aspin, Reeder,Bunting and Holliday have been joined by Darren Starkey. Darren, who spent much of 2014 at the top of the points table won't be familiar with mid-table mediocrity though his place in the current points table should lessen the blow. Likewise Jonny Holliday might be ruing the 15 points that he gained for his Blyth's Pipit find - though I very much doubt it!
The points table is once again headed by Fairburn reserve manager Darren Starkey, though he is at least giving us a chance by not entering St Aidan's. Darren had an excellent month adding both White-winged Gulls, Bittern, Bearded Tit and Cetti's Warbler among others. Jonny Holliday sits tightly in second place - his 5 bonus points for the Blyth's (that's the last time I'll ever mention that) keeping him just ahead of Garry Taylor and his curiously inland patch of Hornsea Mere. Garry is adamant that Hornsea Mere meets the criteria, pointing out that he's never recorded Kittiwake there - not sure that's an inland credential or more of an indication of poor effort! Garry had his first record of Caspian Gull in January. Other good birds this month included 16 Bean Geese at Wykeham, Twite and Snow Bunting at Orgreave and Velvet Scoter at Tophill Low.