Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Inland East Anglia Minileague - March 2016

Tim Phillips bagged his first ever two pointer when a Red Kite sailed across his patch and this double pointer sees him past Adam Nicholls into top spot at the end of the first quarter. Nick Moran's first patch Shag since 2005 ensured that he bagged third place at the end of the first quarter.

Shag at Thetford - March 2016 (photo c/o Nick Moran)

In the points league, Luke Wake's good year at Fen Drayton continued in fine style with Black-Necked Grebe the highlight. Nick Moran at Thetford goes one place higher than the comparative league in second whilst Ben Rackstraw is enjoying life on his new patch adding Bewick's Swan and Cetti's Warbler in March leaving him just shy of 100 species, a barrier which will surely fall in April.


The delay in spring arrivals shows in the monthly highlights with just a handful of migrants bucking the trend of a continuing winter picture. Classic early species such as Garganey were recorded at two sites whilst Jim Bradley had an early Swallow on the 25th. Whooper Swans were noted at a couple of sites and an Iceland Gull was an excellent find for Terry Stopher at Great Livermere. Willow Tit is a much sought after bird these days, so a bird at Lakenheath for Nick Moran was very welcome, as was a brace of Ravens flying over the Nunneries. A Yellow-Legged Gull was just a second patch record for Mike McCarthy at Taverham and Ringland.

It is always a bonus if seabirds are found on an inland patch, even if the points don't reflect the personal satisfaction. James Emerson and Jamie Wells both cashed in on the inland Common Scoter movement with birds at Whitlingham GP and Paxton Pits whilst Nick Moran added Kittiwake to his growing Thetford list in the month. Paxton Pits also had Grey Plover and Rock Pipit in month, both scarce inland visitors.

Kittiwake at Nunnery Lakes - March 2016 (photo c/o Nick Moran)
One of the easier three pointers for East Anglia birders is Common Crane with birds wandering from breeding grounds becoming more of a regular feature in monthly round-ups. This month Jerry Lanfear added this to his totals. For some inland patches, even two pointers are hard to come by. So it was a good month for Rob Pople who scored his first double pointer of the year in the form of a Little Egret.

Finally, there is always room in an update for a good dose of patchgold, and this month it was not in short supply. Joe Harkness had his first Lesser Redpoll and Marsh Tit in two years at Haverlingland Hall whilst Redshank was a patch rarity for Mike McCarthy. Finally Stuart Reeves scored a full fat patch tick with a Canada Goose in the month, genuine airgrab moment!

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