February was an excellent month all round in the Inland Ireland Minileague. Niall Keogh added no less than six year ticks at his South Dublin local parks patch, keeping him in first place on the comparative table with 87.6%. A #patchgold Redshank at Kilbogget Park was his first there since 2009. Other additions included two showy Water Rails on the wetland and two Jack Snipe with 7 Common Snipe on the waterlogged football pitches at night! A singing Stock Dove and the first flyover Lesser Black-backed Gull of the spring were further additions at Cabinteely Park.
Des Higgins has been embracing the spirit of PWC in his first year of competitive scoring at UCD where some good effort in February was rewarded with Little Egret, Teal and Treecreeper (all nice species to see on campus). Des shifts down to third place with just over 70% while second place is claimed by Michael John O’Mahony on 73.4% at Upper Rathduff. Also in his first comp scoring year, Michael saw three Hen Harriers, Merlin and Woodcock at his home patch during the month. Check out Michael's superb flickr album from his patch.
Fifth place goes to Darragh Sinnott at Holy Cross and Carriganore where Siskin and a #fullfatpatchtick Great Black-backed Gull were new for him.
Alan Lauder steals the show however with a whopper untagged 2nd calendar-year White-tailed Eagle over his garden! A very welcome six pointer which starts his year off on 62.5% at Carrick Mountain along with a regular Great Spotted Woodpecker. Presumably one of the juveniles fledged from breeding attempts by re-introduced birds in Ireland last year, the eagle went on a tour of Co. Wicklow during February, seen well by most of the contestants taking part in the annual county bird race the day before it graced the airspace above Alan’s home.
White-tailed Eagle © Alan Lauder
Both Andrew Power and Derek Charles sit atop the Inland Ireland Points Minileague table with 68 points apiece. Derek is one species ahead on 63 while Andrew has the higher Points Per Bird score of 1.097 with Great Spotted Woodpecker and his first patch Great Crested Grebe since 2012 at Kildavin.
Other highlights during the month included Gadwall at Lough Ree (Brian Burke), Reed Bunting along the Grand Canal Way (Ian Stevenson), a #fullfatpatchtick Little Egret at Bushy Park for Mary Fitzgerald and a riverine duo of Common Sandpiper and Dipper at Skibbereen for Julian Wyllie.