Following a superb competition in 2015, Bresser and Forest Optics have once again kindly agreed to sponsor the Best Find Competition this year. Whilst many of the rare birds appear on coastlines and islands, the last two years have seen winners from the estuarine Meare Heath and inland Pugney's Country Park, proving that the bird of the year can appear almost anywhere. A couple of the PWC admin team have predicted a UK first to be found on a patch this year, which if it happens I am sure will be a front-runner for PWC's most prestigious competition. Could it be you?
With such a prestigious competition comes an excellent prize. Last year Bresser and Forest Optics donated a pair of Bresser Montana 8.5 x 45 binoculars worth a grand total of £665! This years prize is still tbc but will again be a pair of binoculars. An incredibly generous prize I am sure you will agree and we really appreciate their continuing support. Have a look at their website and see what they have to offer.
January is always an exciting month in Patchwork Challenge. Everything counts again, and even the one pointers are all ticks for the year! Bonus pointers can be hard to come by however and often come from scouring flocks of gulls, geese or wildfowl. Perhaps the most surprising find this month however was a Great Snipe at Wanstead Flats for Nick Croft. Flushed from scrub on the 3rd it gave close flight views before ditching down but could not be relocated again despite extensive searching. An amazing bird to find in the autumn in any part of the country, to turn one up in Greater London in January is a superb result, and already puts itself in contention from the off!
The first patch visit of the year for Derek Charles on New Years Day resulted in him finding a Black Guillemot on Lough Neagh, the first inland record for Northern Ireland since 1932! A great start to the year for any patch but even more incredible on an inland site.
Black Guillemot at Ardmore, Lough Neagh c/o Derek Charles
|Arctic Redpoll at Birling Carrs (photo c/o Sacha Elliott)|
|Third winter Kumlien's Gull at Blacksod (photo c/o Dave Suddaby)|
|American Wigeon at Scalby Mills (photo c/o Nick Addey)|
In the last couple of years, a couple of the easier bonus pointers (if there is such a thing!) to link up with are Great White Egret and Yellow-browed Warblers. The latter has taken to wintering in a couple of locations in the south-west and Ilya Maclean unearthed a new bird at Lizard Point. New Great White Egrets were at Blagdon Lake and Hale and Pickering whilst a brace graced Conningbrook Lake. The influx of Cattle Egrets last year has left a few stragglers across the UK, but only one of those was a new bird in January with a single at Topsham on the 3rd helping to boost Martin Elcoate's January points total. Meanwhile a flock of twenty Glossy Ibis at Tramore Backstrand in Ireland must have been quite a sight for Arlo Jacques who must be wishing their was a notable flock size bonus!
|Cattle Egret at Topsham c/o Martin Elcoate|
|Serin at Downham Market c/o Ben Rackstraw|