Ever one of the Challenges more lively leagues, the Coastal North did not disappoint during March - a scattering of rarities, no end of scarcities and some early migrants making for an all around lively month. Looking first at the comparative table and Stewart Sexton continues to reign supreme at Howick. With an impressive score pre-migration score of 64% Stewart holds on by the skin of his teeth this month, second place Ash Baines snapping at his heels following a lightening advance up the table. John Chapman concludes the glorious triumvirate this month with 59% of his 2015 score at Whitburn South; followed by Jonathan Farooqi in fourth and Damian Money in fifth respectively. Further down the table a host of other PWC stalwarts continue to build on their scores and with the onset of spring migration it will be interesting to see what the table looks like come April.
To the points league now and perpetual high-scorer Mick Turton steals the top spot following a great good run at Easington; former front-runner Ross Ahmed finding himself relegated to second place at South Tyneside. With a mere two points separating the top two it will exciting to see how this budding rivalry develops in the coming months. Third place this month goes to Jonathan Farooqi at Hadston to Hemscott while further down Nick Addey sits just outside of the top free with 141 points at Long Nab.
In terms of birds seen throughout March the pickings were far from slim in the Coastal North; some glaring rarities comprising Green-Winged Teal for John Chapman, Surf Scoter for Jane Turner and Siberian Chiffchaff for Will Scott. March, as ever, provided a real mix of returning migrants and typical winter fare; Black-Throated Diver, Velvet Scoter and Whooper Swan cropping up in the highlights for a number of competitors. With these, Iceland Gulls for both Mark Harper and Gary Storey, Snow Bunting for Ross Ahmed and Jack Snipe for Ash Baines. In terms of the migrants notched throughout the month; Black Redstart featured for five competitors while Little Ringed Plover, Wheatear and Sand Martin appeared as highlights - ever some of the earliest migrants to return. Looking quickly at some of the #patchgold unearthed during the month and Andy Hood's Bittern certainly warrants a mention, marking only the third record for Flamborough. Elsewhere Coot for Nick Addey was a less than annual tick and yours truly finally caught up with Rook on the Blyth Estuary - about bloody time!
|Iceland Gull - Newbiggin - Gary Storey|
- James C (Patchwork Challenge)