The comparative league in the NGB minileague shows how connecting with all the returning migrants can give your score a massive boost and take you close to your previous years totals. James Common takes over the lead of this league with a hugely impressive April where he added 21 points, taking him up to a 96% comparative score, the highlight of which must be completing the set of resident British owls by adding both Short-eared and Tawny during the month. Josie Hewitt takes a massive leap up the table into second place with a host of classic summer migrants including Osprey, Cuckoo and Hobby along with a first for patch Greenshank. Exams meant I couldn't visit my Lancaster patch much during April resulting in me dropping down to third, exams being the scourge of many participants in this particular league over the next couple of months. With May bringing longer days and more migrants, surely the 100% barrier will fall in this league during the month?
April is the month in patch birding when you set your alarm for pre-dawn to get down to patch for first light and the promise of #patchgold migrants. Putting in the hours can produce some serious rewards and Joe Stockwell proved that and some on his Ferrybridge patch adding an enormous 65 points during the month! His highlights make for an envious read and include a self-found Black Kite seen coming in-off the sea, a stunning Red-rumped Swallow and a host of commoner migrants often coming in large falls. Anthony Bentley relinquishes the top spot for the first time this year despite adding 41 points himself on his Framtpon patch, his highlight however wasn't a classic migrant species but the second site record of Mandarin! The top 2 have a healthy lead over Jonathan Farooqi who retains his third spot at Druridge thanks in part to his second site Great White Egret and his first patch Bearded Tits in 6 years of trying, a true piece of #patchgold if ever there was one.
The best sighting from the rest of the league was a Hoopoe on Bardsey for Ben Porter who is wasting no time in shooting up the table after his absence at the outset, one can only expect to see his name entering the podium positions in the next few months. There isn't a separate inland section for this minileague but if there were there would be a fascinating fight for the top spot between James Common, Drew Lyness and Jonnie Fisk who occupy positions 7 through 9, separated by just 2 points. All the classic summer migrants appeared on NGB patches throughout the month including Wood Warbler for Jonnie Fisk, Nightingale for Drew Lyness, Garganeys for Laurie Allnatt and Amy Robjohns, Yellow Wagtail for Daniel Gornall and Ring Ouzels for Michael Murphy and Ashley Baines.
With migration still in full swing May has huge potential for patchers to make some big gains in this league, and with a host of megas being found so far during the month will any NGB be lucky and hit the patch jackpot?