Thursday, 12 March 2015

Ireland Minileague - February 2015

The majority of the Ireland Minileague stalwarts have reached 60% or higher on the comparative table by the end of February and as such are well placed to receive a flood of Spring migrants in the coming weeks.

Niall Keogh remains in first place at his South Dublin Parks patch while Eamonn O'Donnell and Alan Lauder claim second and third place with their Ninch/Laytown and Carrick Mountain patches respectively. Eamonn has had a fantastic run during the first part of 2015, adding 12 new species in February, now well ahead of himself compared to previous years. Will he score big this year? Tom Moore added an impressive 19 species at Kilmore Quay since last month taking him to 60%.

Neal Warnock at Larne Lough takes poll position on the points table with Eamonn now in second knocking Niall Keogh at Kilcoole back down to third (yet he still claims the highest species total of 94). Gerard Murray at the Boyne Estuary made a dramatic jump from 16th to 4th place thanks to some excellent effort and a few good species during February. All four have well and truly crossed the 100 points barrier with Dave Suddaby at Blacksod in fifth place on 98 points.

Cathal Forkan moves from 10th to 6th place as a result of adding 25 species/31 points at his North Galway Bay patch. Lots of new names and patches cropping up on the points table through February thanks to new submissions.

Rarity find of the month goes to Julian Wyllie for his excellent record of a winter Lesser Yellowlegs on the river at his new patch in Skibbereen. Well worthy of the twelve points awarded for that one. Continuing on the Nearctic vagrant theme, a Green-winged Teal found at Laytown by Eamonn O'Donnell represents just the 2nd or 3rd county record for Meath plus self-found Ring-billed Gulls were picked up by Neal Warnock at Larne Lough and Gerard Murray at the Boyne Estuary. Each of those securing six points for their respective finders.

Cathal Forkan connected with the (in)famous Forster's Tern at Nimmo's Pier during a BirdWatch Ireland Galway Branch outing there early in the month. Whilst not constituting a 'find' as such it still dishes out a hefty four points which anybody would be glad of for one single species. Great to get it on the overall PWC species list too!

Forster's Tern © Cathal Forkan

Arlo Jacques found a juvenile Spoonbill at his Tramore Backstrand patch, complimenting his Glossy Ibis there nicely whilst Eleanor Keane was able to add Red-necked Grebe to the list of PWC Irish rares as she saw the regular wintering bird at Dun Laoghaire Harbour within her patch boundaries back in January.

As for patch scarce, a Spotted Redshank was no doubt a great species to get at Mutton Island for Cathal Forkan (plus Iceland Gull there too), Alan Lauder's Great Spotted Woodpecker at Carrick Mountain began drumming during the month, a Slavonian Grebe & two Iceland Gulls were at Larne Lough for Neal Warnock, a Scaup at Lurgangreen was a patch tick for Peter Philips, a small flock of Tree Sparrows & a Red-breasted Merganser were both good species to get for Niall Keogh at Kilcoole and Tom Moore picked up a hoped for Black-throated Diver at Kilmore Quay.

Iceland Gull © Cathal Forkan

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