Monday, 15 June 2015

Forest Optics Best Find April
The Bresser & Forest Optics Best Find Competition is the highlight of the Patchwork Challenge year. This is the best find of the whole patchbirding year as voted for by you, the competitors. For the winner of the competition, those fine folk at Bresser & Forest Optics are very generously furnishing the winner of this esteemed competition with a pair of Bresser Montana 8.5 x 45 Binoculars worth £665.00. 

Hudsonian Godwit - thanks to James Packer
April and at last we have a mega found on patch, step forward Tom Raven with a Hudsonian Godwit on his Meare Heath patch. A cracking bird and a worthy addition to the best find of 2015 list, this is the first record since 1988 and a testament to Tom's perseverance after failing to initially clinch it on the Friday night. Will Tom win the binoculars? That's up to you at the end of the year when we hold the vote but its looking like a real contender.

Hudsonian Godwit - thanks to Howard Vaughan
Another superb bird in terms of both rarity and looks was a Snowy Owl found and photographed by Dave Suddaby at Blacksod in Ireland. This is a bit of a patch speciality for Dave, it being neither his first or even his second on patch! He also managed to find a Hoopoe on patch in April so he's on a bit of a roll which is reflected in his standing in the points per bird league this month.

Snowy Owl - thanks to  Dave Suddaby

Only one Rough-legged Buzzard was found in April, so it looks like winter is finally loosing it's grip. Well done Chris Bradshaw at Long Nab with this patch tick and welcome six points. 

Alastair Forsyth gains his third Yankee quacker this year in the shape of an American Wigeon at his Old Nisthouse patch on Orkney. 

American Wigeon - Alistair Forsyth

A further transatlantic duck was John Bowlers' Green-winged Teal at his patch on Tiree. Moving south to Skomer, where  Jason Moss located an off course Wryneck, one of my favourite birds.  Even further south to Weymouth for a Black Kite which Joe Stockwell added to his patch list, always a good bird on anyone's patch.

East Anglia next and couple of scarce birds. Firstly Serin, found by our very own Ryan Irvine on his Hemsby patch. The second bird was Common Crane, two being seen on the coast at Southwold by Craig Fulcher, strangely enough across the other side of the country at Sker Farm in Wales, David Carrington also scored with two unringed Cranes.

There seems to have been a glut of Blue-headed Wagtails in the UK during April, no less than 6 patchworkers reported finding birds. Jason Moss gets his second mention for the bird he found on Skomer, Garry Taylor at Hornsea in Yorkshire was the most northerly, Steve Lyons and Carl Cornish both found birds on their patches in the Midlands, to the east and Holme Dunes NR where Robert Smith scored and last of all the south-west at Gwithian where Paul Freestone also connected. A putative Ashy-headed Wagtail also bagged the extra non-flavissima points for Toby Collett

May is well under way and as usual I am looking for photos of any good birds you find during the month for the round-up, email them to

Last but not least how about a spot the godwit competition?
Hudsonian Godwit - thanks to Nick Robinson

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