Friday, 18 December 2015

Estuarine Minileague - November 2015

Contestants in the Estuarine Comparative Minileague are holding on tight to their allocated positions on the league table with nobody budging except for Paul Freestone who moves up from last place and into eight at Hayle Estuary at 73%. At the top of the table, Ed Keeble scored well with a nice Rough-legged Buzzard at Brantham, boosting his first place position to 106%. 

Shaun Robson and Gordon Hodgson are almost neck and neck again this month with comparative scores now over 100%. Shaun leads by less than 1% from Lytchett Bay where he stays in second while Gordon remains in third with 103% at Saul Warth & Frampton on Severn. Shaun bagged some serious points during viz-mig watches where the obvious highlights were a pair of calling Penduline Tits flying low over his head (later to be found 8 miles away) and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker! Gordon got in on the bonus points action too with Leach's Storm-petrel.

Ed's lead is now by no means certain. If the two guys in second and third connect with another good bird we may see a reshuffling by the years end.

The top of the Estuarine Points Minileague table is heavily dominated by RSPB reserves in the east yet Dave Craven battles his way through them, moving into third place at Hale & Pickerings Pasture with no less than five patch ticks in November including Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Diver, Light-bellied Brent Goose, Mealy Redpoll and a surprise Mandarin Duck! 

Mandarin Duck © Dave Craven

Paul Sullivan remains in first and closes the gap on 300 points by adding Bewick's Swan at the Frampton/Freiston reserves. Despite being ousted from third place by Dave Craven, Howard Vaughan adds three species (Woodcock, Black Redstart and Lapland Bunting) at RSPB Rainham Marshes and as such remains just two points behind in fourth.

Sometimes you can't beat just standing around and having a good scan of the patch. Doing just that resulted in five points in five minutes gleaned from Hen Harrier, Greenland White-fronted Goose and Egyptian Goose for Colin Bushell, now occupying eleventh place at Hesketh Outer Marsh, up from thirteenth. This move knocks Martin Elcoate down to twelfth where he had Jack Snipe and Firecrest at Topsham. Andy Jordan remains in tenth at Sharpness but did well, adding 10 points with some help from a Leach's Storm-petrel among others. 

Ian Ballam's fantastic BirdTrack recording effort from the mighty Lytchett Bay continues. He is surely set to reach 15,000 records and 400 lists by the end of December.

Hen Harrier, Greenland White-fronted Goose & Egyptian Geese © Colin Bushell

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