Friday, 18 November 2016

Islands Minileague - October 2016

What a month! October is a superb time to be on the islands and this year they did not disappoint with some notable movement in the minileague table rankings as well as a host of rare and scarce highlights.

Steve Minton at Scatness took his comparative score to a crazy 140% with new birds added to his rarity roll-call including Pied Wheatear, Richard's Pipit, Olive-Backed Pipit, Bean Goose and Hawfinch. He now has his first place position in the league sealed it seems but there is plenty to play for in the podium spots which have seen a major change this month.

Sean Morris at Kilmory added Jack Snipe, Ring Ouzel and Waxwing for handy two pointers, putting himself in third  on 111% while Steve Stansfield rockets into second place (from fourteenth!) on 119% after an epic month on Bardsey (see below for details). 

Six patchers have beaten their comparative target now, with a number just shy of the mark who will be looking for a few late winter additions.

Pied Wheatear at Scatness (c) Steve Minton

October on Bardsey was mind-blowing! Aside from obvious highlight of Black-browed Albatross which was scoped from the Obs garden ('nuff said!), there was records of Radde's, Pallas's and Yellow-browed Warblers, Little Bunting and Sabine's Gull as well as finders points for Richard's Pipit and Red-breasted Flycatcher. This treasure trove of goodies puts Steve to the top of the table with 368 points (and with a PPB score of 2.19), moving John Bowler into second place, 36 points behind. 

Pallas's Warbler at Bardsey (c) Steve Stansfield

John had an excellent month himself. A Blyth's Reed Warbler gave him eight points plus six each for Red-breasted Flycatcher and American Golden Plover. He also had a bumper pack of eleven Yellow-browed's in a record autumn for them on Tiree.

Steve Minton completes the top three on 280 points. Have the leaders secured the top spots for the remainder of the year?

There were plenty of other highlights in the month too. Pallas's Warblers made for a nice upgrade on Yellow-browed Warbler for Jason Moss on Skomer. A Serin was also an excellent addition to his yearlist and Long-tailed Duck, Lapland Bunting and Sooty Shearwater were all handy two pointers. It is always a pleasure to nail your bogey bird, and after missing several over the last three years particular pleasure was gained in unblocking Little Egret for his island list.

The weather conditions have been ripe for bringing birds in from the east. Common Rosefinch was a welcome bonus pointer for Bruce Taylor at Brevig. Little Bunting was also a fine addition as he passed the double century for the year. Also a Waxwing here raises the hopes of a mega Waxwing year all round, it has been a while and these beauties really do cheer up any grey winter day!

Alastair Forsyth unearthed an Olive-backed Pipit at Birsay whilst the Eastern Yellow Wagtail at Balvanich was an absolute belter for Stuart Taylor even if not a find.

Finally... a bit of #patchgold. Always the quirk of islands, they can turn up the rares but sometimes the mundane on the mainland is equally exciting. A Blue Tit on Tiree was a highlight for John Bowler but this months #patchgold award goes to Alastair Forsyth for his patch lifer Dunnock at Birsay. In a month where its Siberian cousin has been making all of the headlines, it is great to see that our own version can still create its own excitement.

No comments:

Post a Comment