Friday, 1 January 2016

Welcome to #PWC2016

Welcome to this years competition. I wasnt planning to write this as I messed about with finishing off last years data and setting up the spreadsheet for this years competition but there has been such a buzz on social media with the start of the new year that I thought I would bring you a few highlights. Contestants new and old have been getting in touch with how they are faring and some of their best bits so far. As we start there are 369 patches registered which is up on this time last year making this the biggest Patchwork Challenge yet.

Nick Addey whose Scarborough patch was one of the high scorers of 2015 got us off with a bang as he squinted through his beer goggles and found the trio of roosting Black-necked Grebes in the harbour at 00:01.

Nick Addey - First species on the patch @ 00.01 hrs Black-necked Grebe #PWC2016
Joe Stockwell failed to add in the early hours but it appears he may have been impaired by intoxicating liquor which I imagine has slowed his start to the challenge this morning. Andy Hood, a new contestant who picks up Martin Garners baton at Flamborough, managed to open his account with the first patch Little Owl in three years for him and is currently up to 40 species with an Eider the latest addition. Ross Ahmed managed to add a Green-winged Teal which arrived at Bolden Flats just before Christmas. Its always good when a long-stayer doesnt do an overnight flit.

Craig Fulcher was the earliest riser to get in touch although his Woodpigeon that broke the 2016 duck doesnt set the pulse racing his Southwold patch will turn up plenty of good stuff over the next 12 months. Equally exciting was the Pete Antrobus's Robin at Neumann's Flash in Cheshire. This is another site that has been a mainstay of the Inland North minileague and turns up decent birds. Hopefully Pete gets off to a decent start.

The rather balmier climes of Poole Harbour now hold a plethora of players and Ian Ballam who patches Lytchett Bay started with a Blackcap/Spoonbill/Shoveler/Goldeneye combo whilst at Holton Lee new contestant Paul Morton got off to a flyer with 66 species.

Over in Inland East Anglia, Alison Allen was in the lambing sheds with little result so far but she has managed to add Lesser Redpoll, Brambling and Reed Bunting while Nick Moran (target of Jonny Rankin's #beatNick campaign) got off to a great start with 57 species/60 points including Barnacle Goose and drake Mandarin. I wonder how Jonny's hangover is going?

Barnacle Goose at the Nunnery - Nick Moran
 Finally in the Welsh uplands Geoff Morgan got off the mark with a Jack Snipe. A great start and always a tricky bird. As for me - I stuck my head out of the door on my newly added village patch and the mellifluous tone of a Blackbird rolled in. And a Crow.

Happy New Year from the PWC Team. 


  1. Can I include two seperate locations as my patch?

    1. Hi Darran. Two locations can be included as a patch if they are joined by a sensible corridor that you will travel along on the ground (i.e. no impractical links between patches which involved flying!). Some notes on suitable patch boundaries/shapes can be found in the latest blog post here (3rd paragraph)

  2. Hello.

    I signed up for the Patchwork Challenge 2016; well I think I have (I completed theRegistration Process) . But what comes next please?

    I see the reference to a Spreadsheet.

    Should I be able to sort myself out my Patch will be nothing grand; covering a short stretch of the (tidal) Thames in the Belvedere/Erith areas. This is slightly extended from my initial submission; I have added an additional few hundred yards alongside the River.

    Thanks ~ Mike Robinson

    1. Hi Mike, thanks for getting in touch. I am just about to put an FAQs post up to help get you going. We have your registration so all you need to do is download the scoresheet in excel from the blog (link is in the right sidebar near the mapping tool link). Get birding and fill the form in as you go. We collect scores once a month via a form on the blog similar to the registration form and this will be up from the 25th to the 5th of the next month. Hope this helps. Cheers

  3. Hello. More than helpful and a super-speedy reply too. Thanks very much