Finally it comes time to delve into the January scores for one of Patchwork's most competitive and action-packed minileagues, the Coastal North. What a month it was in the North coast with more people taking part than ever before and a smorgasbord of great birds on offer, including some decent rarities and plenty of #patchgold.
Looking first at the comparative league and Stewart Sexton takes first place achieving 55% of his former total at Howick, followed closely by Jonathan Farooqi at Hadston to Hemscott hill. John Chapman concludes the triumvirate with 46% at Whitburn South while further down the table similarly impressive scores were obtained everywhere from Saltburn to Starr Gate-Fairlawn Road. A cracking start to the year for many PWC stalwarts it seems.
To the points league next and PWC newcomer Ross Ahmed claims the top spot with an impressive 111 species and 140 points on his South Tyneside patch, no doubt aided by a refind Green-Winged Teal. Jonathan Farooqi sits comfortably in second place in this league also, the lingering Long-Billed Dowitcher providing some welcome points as it paid a visit to Hemscott Hill. Nick Addey concludes the top three with 125 points at Long Nab to Scarborough, a self-found American Wigeon the unbridled highlight of the month here.
Looking past the points to the birds themselves and January threw up no end of delights in the glorious North. Having already mentioned the glaring rarities of American Wigeon, Dowitcher and Green-Winged Teal; other notable birds this month included Cou's Arctic Redpoll for John Rutter and Richard's Pipit for Seamus Eaves at Fleetwood. Elsewhere winter seawatching paid off for many competitors; Little Auks featuring on many patches alongside good numbers of Little Gulls while an unseasonal Arctic Skua was a highlight for Gary Storey at Newbiggin. Ross Ahmed's good run continued with a flurry of gulls at South Tyneside, among these Caspian, Glaucous and Iceland while Kumlien's Gull featured for James Spencer. Other typical winter gems noted this month included a number of Slavonian Grebes; for Alan Crossley, James Smith and Cain Scrimgeour; Red-Necked Grebe again for Alan Crossley and a scattering of Velvet Scoter up the coast. Water Pipit were prominent this month, noted on three patches while both Damian Money and James Common were lucky enough to encounter Jack Snipe. James's Blyth patch also holding a party of seven Waxwings. Elsewhere this month, the best of the rest consisted of an influx of White-Fronted Geese across the North East, Snow Buntings for Chris Small and a #PatchGold Coot for Duncan Watson at Tynemouth.
|Water Pipit - Jonathan Farooqi|
|Waxwing - James Common|