Saturday, 25 June 2016

Islands Minileague - May 2016

Some of the highlights from a fantastic May in the Islands Minileague: top left - Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (Steve Minton); top centre - Blyth's Pipit (Steve Stansfield); top right - Greenish Warbler (Ben Porter); bottom left - Black Kite (Steve Stansfield); bottom centre - Eastern Subalpine Warbler (Steve Stansfield); bottom right - Rook (John Bowler)

David Wood tops the Islands Comparative Minileague at the end of May with a clear 12% lead on IanT at Askernish who drops to second after taking the lead last month. David owes his good fortune to bonus points gleaned from a Subalpine Warbler found at The Oa along with some good supporting cast for Islay in the form of Turtle Dove and Little Ringed Plover. He finishes the month with 98% and ready to hit his target soon.

Plenty of change in the rankings elsewhere on the comp table with many contestants adding well to their scores in what was a very productive month to be patching on an island. Six patch birders are now over 75% with Bryan Rains, Paul Higson and Steve Minton gaining ground in the top five.

Steve Stansfield who patches on the mighty island of Bardsey comes charging in and takes first place on the Islands Points Minileague table with a mega Spring record of Blyth's Pipit, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Black Kite, Red-breasted Flycatcher, two Greenish Warblers and a flock of Mute Swans (8th record for Bardsey). All of this results in 135 species, 219 points and 1.622 Points Per Bird, the highest score in each of those categories in the minileague. With a comp score of 308 points to work against, Steve has done well so far but still has a long way to go.

Former head of the table, John Bowler, isn't too far behind in second place at Balephuil. A Pectoral Sandpiper was his bonus points scoring highlight of the month (helping to take him over 200 points) but it was a migrant Rook which provided the real element of #patchgold as they are less than annual on the island!

Steve Minton dug out one of the rarity finds of the year with an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler in his garden at Scatness. It may not be the most colourful of vagrants but let us not detract from its value too much here. Being the first Spring record since 2008, a well deserved 15 points awarded for finding that one will go down well with Steve! He secures himself a fourth place position as a result.

Like Bardsey, the Welsh island of Skomer has also been enjoying a great Spring where Jason Moss (in fifth place) provides us with the following mouth-watering update: "Iberiae Yellow Wagtail (and a decent looking one at that. Record to be sent to BBRC), Black-headed Bunting (8 previous records; 3rd year in a row), drake Garganey, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier (2), Little Ringed Plover (island mega; 6 previous records), Cuckoo, Nightjar (another island biggy; 12 previous records), Nightingale (8 previous records), Woodchat Shrike (2 stonking males) and Red-backed Shrike (another stonking male)."... Wow!!

On Scilly, a singing Great Reed Warbler was a welcome surprise for John Headon at Hugh Town and Lower Moors. IanT connected with a Nightingale at Askernish, a patch first for him and a rare bird in general for Scotland. Red-breasted Flycatcher, Turtle Dove, Hawfinch and Common Redpoll showed up on Barra for Bruce Taylor while another Hawfinch was seen by Barry Hamill at Burray.  

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