Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Ireland Minileague - October 2015

No new species or points added during October for the Ireland Comparative Minileague leaders, Eamonn O'Donnell (Ninch/Laytown) or Niall Keogh (South Dublin Parks), as both were away for most of the month chasing migrants and seabirds around/off Southwest Ireland.

While they still remain in their allotted first and second place positions, a month of inactivity has allowed other contestants make some gains and to add to their scores.

Alan Lauder connects with the long-staying Yellow-legged Gull at Broad Lough and moves well past 100 species, 100% comp score and into a strong third place position (and within striking distance of second).

Despite having a plethora of rare and scarce species just out of reach of his patch boundary at Larne Lough, Neal Warnock finally gets an addition for his year list (Knot) after a long wait. Two months left for him to gain 7% and make it to the target score.

Neal's other patch at Rathlin Island produced Snow Bunting among four species added there seeing him move from eleventh to seventh place while Dave Suddaby jumps from thirteenth to sixth and past 90% (more on the reasons behind this below).

Five new species scoring seventeen new points for Dave Suddaby at Blacksod bolstered his first place position on the Ireland Points Minileague where the clear highlight (and strong contender for bird of the year) was a fantastic male Two-barred Crossbill which graced the conifers at the back of his garden among a movement of Common Crossbill. Not only a very fine looking species in its own right, Two-barred Crossbill is an absolute mega in Ireland and Dave's sighting represents the first county record for Mayo.

Additions of Carrion Crow, Greenland White-fronted Goose, Merlin and Short-eared Owl right at the months end allowed Niall Keogh to make some gains at Kilcoole. This helped him take second place from Eamonn O'Donnell with a four point lead and a total of 143 species.

Richard Donaghey mist-netted a Yellow-browed Warbler at his ringing site at the Bann Estuary, a very good bird for Northern Ireland and worthy of six points there for sure plus additions of Long-eared Owl and Barnacle Goose to boot.

Some October migrants registered on other patches include Whooper Swan for Derek Polley at West Bangor, Whinchat for Arlo Jacques at Tramore Backstrand and finally, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Skylark and Lesser Redpoll for Noel Keogh at South Dublin Bay.

We also welcome Michael John O'Mahony to the points table who has been busy patching away at Rathduff in Co. Cork. Hen Harrier, Long-eared Owl, Dipper, Spotted Flycatcher and Grasshopper Warbler are just some of the excellent local species present at his inland patch which ticks the 'Green' box, birded by foot only.

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