The Forest Optics Best Find Competition

To inspire you to keep getting out there into the field, Forest Optics  have offered a winner's prize of a pair of Bresser Montana 8.5 x 45 binoculars (RRP £665) to the finder of the best bird through the twelve months of the Patchwork Challenge 2014 competition.

As we've stated already, we can't be waiting for the good men of the rarities committee to pronounce judgement (well, we could, but they're very busy and we'd be waiting a while). We'll take your word for it. And we'll give everyone else an opportunity to take your word for it too, as the 'Forest Optics Best Patch Find' will be settled by contestants voting for their choice in a poll that we will set up on the blog at the end of the year. The poll will be open to all folk taking part in the competition, and the candidates for the prize will be selected by the Patchwork Challenge Best Find Shortlist Selection Committee - all you will need to do is vote (only once!) Watch this space, along with the twitter feed and the facebook page for further details through the year.

On this page we will keep a list of the finds that we think may well make it onto the shortlist at the end of the year - obviously some finds my appear here that don't make it onto the final list - and if we're a bit too cautious, some that make it onto the shortlist might not appear here. If you feel we've missed anything off, please let us know. Some of the best finds so far include:

Blue-winged Teal x 2 at Old Nisthouse (Alastair Forsyth)
Northern Treecreeper at Flamborough (Martin Garner)
Franklin's Gull at Burry Inlet (Barry Stewart)
Eastern Bonelli's Warbler at Newbiggin (Alan Tilmouth)
Collared Flycatcher at Balephuill (John Bowler)
Broad-billed Sandpiper at Alkborough (Wayne Gillatt)
Black Stork at Goole Fields (Tom Lowe)
Black Stork at Dawlish Warren (Kev Rylands)
Black Stork at Little Orme (Henry Cook)
Bonaparte's Gull at Topsham (Martin Elcoate)
Blyth's Reed Warbler at Girdle Ness (Andrew Whitehouse)
Blyth's Reed Warbler at Wanstead (Nick Croft)
Blyth's Reed Warbler on Bardsey (Ben Porter)
Blyth's Reed Warbler at Scatness (Steve Minton)
Citrine Wagtail at Red Rocks (Jane Turner)
Citrine Wagtail on Bardsey (Steve Stansfield/Ben Porter)
Citrine Wagtail on Portland (Joe Stockwell)
Pallid Swift on Portland (Joe Stockwell)
Savi's Warbler at Newport Wetlands (Matt Meehan)
Savi's Warbler at Horsey (Tim Hodge)
Aquatic Warbler at Lytchett Bay (Shaun Robson)
Lesser Yellowlegs at Frampton (Toby Collett)
Baltic Gull x 2 at Flamborough (Martin Garner)
Stilt Sandpiper at Druridge Pools (Iain Robson)
Fea's Petrel at Druridge Pools (Iain Robson)
Booted Warbler on Burray (Barrie Hamill)
Citrine Wagtail at Girdle Ness (Mark Lewis)
Citrine Wagtail at Grindon Lough (Paul Massey)
Olive-backed Pipit at Wanstead (Nick Croft)
Myrtle Warbler at Sumburgh (Gary Bell)
Pallid Harrier at Steart/Wall Common (Dick Best and Roger Musgrove)
Olive-backed Pipit x 3 on North Ronaldsay (Peter Donnelly)
Pechora Pipit on North Ronaldsay (Peter Donnelly)
Lesser Scaup on Tiree (John Bowler)
Bonaparte's Gull at Dawlish Warren (Kev Rylands)
Red-flanked Bluetail at Blacksod (Dave Suddaby)
Kentish Plover at Crymlyn (Mark Hipkin)
Brunnich's Guillemot at Flamborough (Martin Garner)
Penduline Tit at Mid-Yare (Ben Lewis)
American Coot at Balranald (Brian Rabbitts)
Blyth's Pipit at Pugneys (Jonny Holliday)

And dont forget, we have the added incentive of having scoring subspecies, so who knows, perhaps the winner will be one of those.

In addition Forest Optics have agreed to donate £1 for every species seen during the Patchwork Challenge to a charity of our choice and we've selected the BTO’s House Martin tracking appeal. With over 300 species of birds a likely target, that would amount to a very handy £300+ going to this worthwhile and fascinating project! Even more reason to get out onto that patch!


  1. Having been fortunate enough to find both in the UK ( he said modestly ) I have to say that my vote will have to go for the Gyr - (he grunted through gritted teeth.)


    W B Diver in winter plumage -

    "hmmmmm, is it one ?, it's not an odd G N Diver is it,?, is the bill really pale, could it just be the light , etc etc

    White Gyr -

    "how did I lose control of all of my bodily functions so quickly"

    No contest.



  2. Birds such as those would be expected way up there, I'd vote for an Inland Patch UK Mega which no one's found yet!

    1. Enter Jonny Holliday...what a find and THE most twitched patch fined bar none!

  3. It will be interesting to see what gets the most votes at the end of the year, as you say Pod, perhaps a repeat of the buff-bellied pipits in an inland patch may prove a winner??

  4. Oh how apt I found the Patch's first proven Rock Pipit...a definite local patch MEGA!!

  5. Yeah, depends on how rare the bird is to the patch. I 'found' a Bittern flying up the Hayle Estuary this month. I'm not aware of any recent records from that site so that would make it very rare?