Saturday, 1 August 2015

Ireland Minileagues June

Stalemate at the top of the Ireland Comparative Minileague where Eamonn O’Donnell and Niall Keogh remain in first and second place position come the end of June at their Ninch/Laytown and South Dublin Parks patches. Both have done very well to get beyond 100% by the half way point in the year but are starting to slow down now with just one species added during the past month each, Roseate Tern and Siskin respectively. Can they keep up enough momentum to see them through the year or will others start climbing the ranks once autumn and its bounties arrive?

Neal Warnock moves past 90% and into third place at Larne Lough after a #fullfatpatchtick brace of European Storm-petrels as well as notching up Arctic Skua and Roseate Tern for the year. Alan Lauder heads up a patch double act with his two patches to take up fourth and fifth place where a night time flyover Black-tailed Godwit was just the second record for his inland Carrick Mountain patch.

A quiet month for Dave Suddaby at Blacksod (European Storm-petrel his best bird) yet he still leads by a county mile in the Ireland Points Minileague, 38 points clear of second place thanks to his impressive run of Spring rares which keeps him firmly in the lead with a points per bird score of over 1.5 (the highest in the minileague). Neal at Larne, Eamonn at Ninch/Laytown and Niall at Kilcoole battle it out now for second, third and fourth position with very close species and points totals. Neal now taking second by the end of the month from Eamonn by a matter of one point. After a quiet May, Niall clawed back a decent batch of year ticks at Kilcoole during June including Long-eared Owl, Crossbill, Gadwall, Puffin and Knot.

Most other contestants have moved up or down by a matter of one place here and there elsewhere on the table, a testament to a relatively quiet month except for Cathal Forkan, our sole representative of Next Generation Birders (NGB), who played a blinder at his North Galway Bay patch jumping from 11th to 6th place and beyond the 100 species mark thanks to some excellent midsummer sewatching producing Balearic Shearwater, European Storm-petrel, Little Tern and Little Gull. Ger Murray also joins the 100 species club at his Boyne Estuary patch.

Record keeping enthusiasts in the Ireland Minileague have now added approximately 5,600 records from 116 complete lists to the BirdTrack database. Well done all! Of the six Irish contestants in the Green category (i.e. patching without motorised transport), Julian Wyllie leads the charge at Baltimore with an impressive 88 species.

Spotted Flycatcher at Larne Lough © Neal Warnock

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