Thursday, 28 July 2016

Estuarine Minileague - June 2016

The Cornwall Dalmatian Pelican finally made it's way to the Hayle Estuary as Paul Freestone added this unexpected visitor to both of this patches this year. This five pointer puts him into first place and sailing over the 100% marker in the comparative league. Peter Hazlewood had an excellent spring to put him in second place, but the same cannot be said of June with nothing new of note in what is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year. Joost Brandsma remains just shy of the 100% mark in third, a barrier which is sure to fall soon!

In the top two spots are Dave Craven and Howard Vaughan in what is becoming quite a tussle at the top. In fact these two patches produced the best finds of June also, with a male Golden Oriole making for real #patchgold in it's most literal sense for Howard whilst a very unseasonal and unexpected Green-Winged Teal brightened up Dave's month.

An unseasonal American visitor at Hale & Pickerings Pasture in June - c/o Dave Craven

The 14 extra species so far at Hale and Pickerings is telling though as Dave retains a 16 point lead at the top. Meanwhile, the Frampton / Freiston collective cannot be ignored with autumn approaching, and waderfest is on its way! They occupy third and fourth spots so it should make for an exciting autumn.

For most patchers, June is a quiet month in the competition, so enjoying the breeding birds and summer residents becomes the highlights when few points are added. There were however a few points additions to be made. A Spoonbill at Frampton was to be expected at some point in the year, but a bird at Birkenhead Docks much less so for Elliot Monteath, it was a first for patch, Birkenhead and east Wirral. In fact Elliot had a good month with a fine Roseate Tern and a Little Tern which flew up the estuary giving Elliot enough time to tip off Dave Craven at Hale and Pickerings who added it to his list also. A great example of patch teamwork which is what we like to see! Another example of teamwork was the White Stork at Saul Warth which was added by Gordon Hodgson thank to the local Twitter network. How social media has changed birding.

Little Gulls are often a feature of late summer and an early bird was an excellent patch tick for both patchers at Hesketh Out Marsh.

Little Gull was a patch tick for Stuart Darbyshire at Hesketh Out Marsh
Excluding the literal example from Rainham above, a Marsh Tit for Ian Ballam was a lifer for him at Lytchett Bay so takes the #patchgold kudos for June.

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