Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Midlands Minileague - February 2016

In the Midlands the leading trio from January remain in situ for February and in the same order. Andrew Chick adds six species but can't as yet get that first two pointer. Phil Hyde made similar progress at East Keal in second place although early migrants were in evidence with Blackcap and Chiffchaff both notched. Andy Sims is in third spot ensuring the top three all break the 70% mark. Seven new species and 11 points this month for Andy with his third Short-eared Owl at Boultham Mere in 33 years. Other highlights for him included a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Marsh Harrier.

Its now a Rutland Water 1-2 with Erik Ansell making his bow in top spot and leading Rod Baker by 5 species and points. Both listed their highlight this month as the Long-billed Dowitcher although neither managed to register any bonus points. Steve Nuttall at Belvide is in third spot on 113 points, only three behind Rod. Steve managed to turn up a trio of decent February birds with Merlin, Bittern and Iceland Gull all gracing his scoresheet.

Espen Quinto-Ashman's Siberian Chiffchaff, Wellington GPs
Away from the top three there were plenty of birds - the minileague extended to 56(!?!) players this month so there will be plenty of competition from top to bottom. There was a three pointer for Marc Landsdowne on his Trent Valley patch in Leicestershire as a Crane overflew him on the 23rd Feb. Steve Haynes at Tame Valley managed to connect with a Siberian Chiffchaff on his patch after 10 hours of patient waiting. Steven Lewis at Welby got a patch record count of 18 Jack Snipe whilst at Matthew Hazelton's Summer Leys patch he managed to record his first Pink-footed Goose.

Zac Hinchcliffe got a probable site first record of Water Rail at Old Bolingbroke plus a bonus Red Kite. Kate Thorpe had the pleasure of a Great White Egret roosting nightly with herons at RSPB Middleton Lakes as well as a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and regular Short-eared Owls. Jacob Spinks had a Glaucous Gull at Pitsford Reservoir whilst an inland Common Scoter was #patchgold for Gareth Clements in the Smestow Valley. Espen Quinto-Ashman was another to record Siberian Stonechat on his Herefordshire patch. Whooper Swans were recorded widely making the highlights reel for at least seven patchers. Finally, Andy Ambrose unearthed a Little Gull at Upton Warren. Apologies if your highlight has been missed but there have been loads! Hopefully in March we are reporting the first Sand Martins!

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