A brace of Lesser Yellowlegs in September left four patchers very happy, with a bird at Topsham and a bird at Lytchett Fields. The latter was enjoyed by all three patchers at that site, but crucially Ian Ballam sealed the find points which put him at the top of the comparative table on 114%.
|Lesser Yellowlegs number 1 at Lytchett Fields c/o Ian Ballam|
The battle remains tight for the other spots, but half of all birders in the comparative league have not hit the 100% barrier. Joost Brandsma is in second place despite not adding any points this month whilst Peter Hazlewood had his first Ruff since 2007 to stay in the podium places.
In the points league Dave Craven still holds on to his long term lead despite his confident prediction to the contrary. It is a lead that is getting eroded all the time however, in particular by Howard Vaughan who despite being on holiday for two weeks found Honey Buzzard in month for those all important extra points and added Curlew Sandpiper. Paul Sullivan at Frampton just added Red Kite in the month but keeps third place but Toby Collett got useful additional points by finding Pectoral Sandpiper and Temminck's Stint. In fact, Toby was just whinging about the lack of Pectoral Sandpipers at Frampton when he found two! (The irony of Frampton moaning about lack of waders is not lost!)
Best of the rest in month was the stunning Aquatic Warbler from last month, which had the good manners to hold on until the 1st for Shaun Robson. Shaun also found a Spotted Crake whilst carrying out an RSPB survey and enjoyed the Lesser Yellowlegs at Lytchett. In his own words which we can all appreciate, the Spotted Crake was his favourite bird of the month as 'finds are always better and the core of patching'.
Great White Egrets might be getting more regular, especially in the south but they are still appreciated by those lucky enough to have them on their patch. This month Paul Brebner scored with the first on his Paull Holme Strays patch and Max Hellicar enjoyed this scarce visitor at Rainham.
Chris Andrews had a nice find in another Pectoral Sandpiper at Frampton. Andy Jordan at Sharpness has just had a new baby (congratulations!) - and his highlights were two Shags on patch. Meanwhile a couple of site firsts were Spotted Redshank at Hesketh Out Marsh for Graham Jones and Pied Flycatcher for Ian Ballam at his other patch Holes Bay.
Finally - a Hen Harrier was a stunning addition for Gordon Hodgson at Frampton. Long may this beautiful raptor grace our shores!