Friday, 20 January 2017

Coastal Ireland Minileague - December 2016

There was no let up for Noel Keogh at South Dublin Bay who added Fieldfare, Jack Snipe and Eider to his year list in December, bringing him up to 124.09% at the top of the Coastal Ireland Comparative Minileague. The rest of the top five here managed to equal or better their 100% target but second place was 19% or so behind Noel.

Woodcock and Pheasant added in December at the Bann Estuary (patch blog here) allowed Richard Donaghey to keep hold of second place while a fine end to the year for Cathal Forkan at North Galway Bay helped him to claim a podium position, moving up from fifth to third thanks to a #fullfatpatchtick Fieldfare plus Black Redstart and bonus points for not only being the first person to find the returning Forster's Tern this winter but also for locating it well away from it's usual haunts.

Derek Polley kept patch birding at Bangor West right up to the bitter end of the year and was rewarded for his efforts with a #patchgold Mute Swan seen at 3:15pm on New Year's Eve, his first there in two years of PWC! This stroke of luck took Derek to exactly 100%!

Forster's Tern (right) and Sandwich Tern (left) at Barna (c) Cathal Forkan (patch blog)

Little Gull at Larne Lough (c) Neal Warnock

It was a relatively quiet year for Dave Suddaby at Blacksod. It seems the Mullet Peninsula missed out on the madness of Autumn 2016, with not a single Phylloscopus warbler seen for three weeks during the month of October! Despite this, Dave still managed to dig out some good birds like Surf Scoter and his final score for the year broke past 200 points and allowed him to take up second place on the points minileague table. 

With the mega birding site of Tacumshin featuring in PWC for the first time in 2016, a strong score was always to be expected on the points table. Noel Keogh took on the challenge here and finished up in first place with no less than 163 species which gained him 250 points. With 2016 being an exceptional year for wader diversity at Tacumshin (40 species seen in total through the year), has Noel set the bar too high for his first year of comparative listing here in 2017?

Cathal Forkan's good fortunes in December allowed him to take third place on the points table from North Galway Bay while we see Christopher O'Sullivan's first year of PWC effort at Clonakilty/Inchydoney bringing him to fifth place with Cattle Egret added there during the final month of the year.

Glaucous Gull was the last addition for Graham Johnston at Rinville while Joe Proudfoot launched into a year ticking bonanza at Sandymount to Dun Laoghaire with Velvet Scoter, Fieldfare, Dipper, Water Rail and 9 Waxwing!

Neal Warnock topped of his year list at Larne Lough with Skylark, Stonechat and Slavonian Grebe. An account of his year of patch birding at Larne Lough and Rathlin Island can be read (with lots of fantastic pics included) on the Patch Birding Ireland blog.

Black Redstart at Barna Pier (c) Cathal Forkan

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