Monday, 14 October 2013

Meopta & Forest Best Find Competition - September

Autumn proper arrived in September with the memories of a glorious/birdless summer drifting away on a migrant filled wind. Scudding lows provided interest at all points of the compass with yanks, sibes and european species all well represented in the finders goodie bag for the Meopta & Forest Optic Best Find Competition. It seems the big one eluded the PWC this September but still seven BB rarities were recorded with any number of scarcities. Two PWC'ers even managed to double up. As is to be expected, those at the extremities of our archipelago seemed to do best.

Lesser Yellowlegs - Rob Fray

Starting in the far north, Rob Fray with his Virkie patch managed a fine Lesser Yellowlegs. Pictured above this bird continues Robs run from Augusts Citrine Wagtail. Moving into Orkney and Barrie Hamill managed a Bonelli's Warbler presumably the Western Bonelli's which is still present on Burray. Paul Higson of the superbly named Quoyangry added an Arctic Warbler to procedings. The doubles come from Jane Turner at Red Rocks, Cheshire and Steve Stansfield on Bardsey. Jane managed a Semipalmated Sandpiper and a Blyth's Reed Warbler while Steve pulled out a Fea's Petrel and a Siberian Stonechat. Excellent work all round but I fear again these may not be the winners of the prize although this is of course for you, the readers and competitors to decide. One bird that could have picked up the prize, nay would have picked up the prize is John Bowler's Cedar Waxwing which was sadly off his patch. Found in an elderly woman's garden this bird was unavailable to the masses so not only was John unable to put the news out but he was unable to revel in the points. Next time?

White-winged Black Tern - Poole Harbour (Peter Moore)

Oodles of scarcities came from all directions and were made up of a scattering of passerines, seabirds and waders. A widespread fall of Yellow-browed Warblers on the east coast penetrated much of the UK by months end and birds were found on at least eight patches in PWC. Other popular scarcities this month were Long-tailed Skua (five patches), Wryneck (4), Grey Phalarope (3) and Pectoral Sandpiper (3). The onset of winter isn't too far away with perhaps a month left of the autumn but hints of it were noted with a couple of patchers resorting to finding Caspian Gulls. Other two patch birds included Leach's Petrel, Great White Egret, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Red-backed Shrike and Spoonbill. A single Honey Buzzard was found in September with singles of other 6 pointers including Golden Oriole, Short-toed Lark, Bluethroat, White-winged Black Tern, Glossy Ibis, Ortolan, Crane, American Golden Plover, Barred Warbler, Rosefinch and Richard's Pipit. Quite a haul I'm sure you will agree.
American Golden Plover - St Mary's Island (James Spencer)
Finally here's one that I found on my Newcastle patch at St Mary's Island, Whitley Bay.

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