The Coastal Ireland Minileague got in on some rare passerine action during the month of October.
Checking the coastal scrub at Irishtown Nature Park proved fruitful for Noel Keogh who added two Yellow-browed Warblers and a Ring Ouzel to his South Dublin Bay list, great finds on the edge of the capital. This puts him on 118.9%, comfortably in the lead with Richard Donaghey still in second on 103.5% and Eleanor Keane still in third now on 100.8%. Richard chanced upon a pair of roosting Long-eared Owls at the Bann Estuary while Eleanor added Red-throated Diver, Black-tailed Godwit and Bar-tailed Godwit to her list at Killiney Hill to Dun Laoghaire coast.
Tim Murphy makes a bold move from twelfth to sixth place at St John's Point where an absolutely cracking find in the form of Red-flanked Bluetail (along with Glossy Ibis and Sabine's Gull) propelled him from 78.6% at the end of September up to 94.8%. The bluetail represents the first record for Northern Ireland and did the honourable thing, hanging around for a few days, allowing many to twitch and enjoy this incredible bird.
Best Find of 2016 for the Ireland Minileagues?
Red-flanked Bluetail at St John's Point (c) James O'Neill
Tim's good fortunes also manifest themselves in the Points Minileague where he takes second place from Dave Suddaby at Blacksod, but only by a matter of a slightly higher points per bird score.
Tacumshin still provides the goods for Noel Keogh who remains at the top of the table here now on 160 species and 243 points thanks to a juvenile Long-billed Dowitcher, some patch scarce Goldeneye and getting in on finders points for Cattle Egret with a flock of five now present there.
Julian Wyllie is having a good second half of the year at Baltimore, now over 100 species and 150 points with Buzzard, Green Sandpiper and Siberian Chiffchaff added in October. Neal Warnock's trips to Rathlin Island provided him with eleven year ticks including Snow Bunting, Twite and #patchgold Mistle Thrush (the first for eight years there!) while he was also relieved to finally add Kestrel at Larne Lough.
Long-tailed Duck takes Derek Polley over the 100 species mark at RSPB Belfast Harbour & Kinnegar and at Dundalk Bay, Jen Lynch sends us a score for her first year of patching there which included a surprise Glossy Ibis back in September.
Twite at Rathlin (c) Neal Warnock