Sunday, 25 October 2015

NGB Patchwork Challenge - September 2015

As ever during early autumn, migrants both rare and regular adorned the patches of various NGB members throughout September. From continental raptors to gripping garden rarities, September produced some top birds throughout this extremely competitive league though, yet again, there was little change in the results tables, with a few notable exceptions. 

Looking first at the comparative league and things remain largely the same excluding Josie Hewitt's monumental leap from 4th to 1st, edging Amy Robjohns out of the top spot and pushing former front runner James Common further down the rankings. Josie's rise to the top was aided and abetted by a host of familiar migrants including a long overdue Wheatear as well as Redstart and both Spotted and Pied Flycatchers. The latter of which notched while ringing. Whether or not Josie will keep the top spot is open to speculation with the following three competitors well within striking distance should their luck pick up during October. Further down the table Ash Baines jumps a place from 5th to 4th at his Starr Gate-Fairlawn Road patch and former front runner Jonathan Scragg falls to fifth place.

Pied Flycatcher - Josie Hewitt

The NGB points mini league the top ten remains exactly as it was in August with the exception of Drew Lyness and James Common changing places at ninth and tenth. Joe Stockwell appears unstoppable at the top of the table with Jonathan Farooqi and Anthony Bentley firmly lodged in second and third place respectively. Lower down the table things are less clear cut and a few good finds could shake up the rankings somewhat over the coming month. 

Moving on to the finds and highlights this month and the prestigious title of "NGB bird of the month" almost certainly goes to the superb Red-Footed Falcon unearthed by Jonathan Farooqi on his coastal north patch (a photo of which can be seen below). Jonathan also managed a Yellow-Browed Warbler while Ash Baines noted a Wryneck in addition to two separate Barred Warblers, also notching some real patch gold in the form of two Kingfishers, a real rarity on site. Other notable cases of patch gold throughout September include both Black Tern and Little Stint for Rhys Chivers and a patch first Reed Warbler for James Common at Stobswood. The first in almost a decade no less. In addition to his earlier triumphs Ash Baines also nabbed Black-Necked Grebe on patch and David Gomer was lucky enough to turn up a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in his East Anglian garden, a sight that would turn many birders (particularly us northerners) green at the gills with envy. Well done David!

Red-Footed Falcon - Jonathan Farooqi

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