Thursday, 23 April 2015

Ireland Minileagues - March 2015

The Ireland Comparative Minileague has a new leader at the end of March as Eamonn O'Donnell's excellent run at Ninch/Laytown continues with seven new species added including a self found male Surf Scoter leaving him close to 86%. Neal Warnock moves up from fifth to third with 72.024% at Larne Lough (Scaup his best bird of the month) and it's good to see some inland patches earning places in the top five with Alan Lauder's Carrick Mountain patch in fourth and Niall Keogh's South Dublin Parks patch in a close second to Eamonn's first place position with less than 1% separating the two (a Woodcock and a pair of prospecting Stock Doves for Niall were nice highlights for his suburban parklands site).

A flurry of scores updated from other patch veterans sees the comp league jump from nine contestants to fourteen by the end of the first quarter. Looking forward to seeing how the rest of them get on over the coming months with some of their recent highlights including a Kumlien's Gull for Tim Murphy at Killough & St. John's Point, an adult Ring-billed Gull for Dave Suddaby at Blacksod, a Black-throated Diver for Julian Wyllie at Baltimore and a #fullfatpatchtick Mute Swan for Neal Warnock on Rathlin Island!

Eamonn's comp score rampage has also seen him take the lead on the Ireland Points Minileague table knocking Neal's previous top spot position at Larne last month down to third with Niall at Kilcoole filling in for second place thanks to a productive month with eight year ticks including Little Gull, Wheatear and Sandwich Tern making him the first to get over the ton on species total. A total of seven contestants are now well over 100 points with several more close behind.

The points per bird title goes to Dave at Blacksod for the time being with 1.352. He has added eleven species since his last update as has Julian at Baltimore. Eight new species for Arlo Jacques at Tramore included Short-eared Owl and Spotted Redshank as well as a cracking find in the form of a 2nd calendar-year Bonaparte's Gull which hung around for quite some time, allowing many to twitch it! What a superb patch that is turning out to be.

We welcome two new contestants to the points table, both from Dublin. The highlight of Noel Keogh's South Dublin Bay efforts to date include one of the regular Ring-billed Gulls at Sandymount Strand and 3 Gadwall plus 4 Pochard off Irishtown in February... real #patchgold stuff there. Mark Carmody enters his Dublin 2 patch where a Buzzard was most notable for an urban region of the capital.

Cathal Forkan, the sole representative of Next Generation Birders in the Ireland Minileague, added a 2nd-winter Glaucous Gull to his tally at North Galway Bay and Julian Wyllie heads up the non-motorised 'Green' section at Baltimore with a very respectable 80 species.

Keep an eye on the 'unofficial' Ireland Inland Minileague down at the bottom of the points table. Three patches battling it out in their own right! If we get anymore entries from inland patches then who knows, we may have to set up another 'official' minileague for them! Watch this space...

Niall is the first contestant to surpass 1,000 records for BirdTrack at Kilcoole with a worthy mention also going to both Neal at Larne and Julian at Baltimore for entries of 600+ records from their patches.

Bonaparte's Gull at Tramore ©  Mícheál Cowming

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