Sunday, 10 October 2010

The 2010 Bardsey Autumn Birding Tournament
Week 10: Competition Review and Results

The tenth week of the tournament failed to produce anything particularly mega, but the odd minor scarcity spiced things up a touch and at least there were plenty of workaday bread-and-butter birds to pad things out a bit. The starting line-up consisted of Richard Brown, Richard Else, Ben Porter and Steve Stansfield as usual, and Steve Hinde present as a volunteer for his third week.

Ben Porter always seems to be quick out of the blocks at the start of the week and, once again, his was the first name on the scoreboard when he found a Barn Owl (2 points) on Sunday morning. Stansfield scored his first point of the week for a Ring Ouzel at Ty Capel and, after dark, Else stepped out of the observatory door at just the right moment to get a heard-only point for a Grey Plover flying overhead.

The next morning was quite uneventful until Porter, after an unfruitful trudge around the South End, returned home for breakfast and scored a whirlwind hat trick of Pied Flycatcher (1 point), Yellow-browed Warbler (1 point) and House Sparrow (3 points) in his back garden in what seemed like a matter of seconds. This news prompted Stansfield to tune himself in to the frequency of autumn Phylloscopi and, sure enough, his radar picked up another Yellow-browed Warbler (1 point) in the obs garden almost immediately. Having drawn a blank at Nant, Steve Hinde returned to the observatory and stumbled upon a Long-eared Owl roosting behind the garden (3 points). Hinde followed this up with another three-pointer the next day in the form of a Long-tailed Skua flying past the West Coast.

Long after dark, lighthouse watchman Brown scored a witching-hour point for a Grey Plover attracted to the beacon, and a few more single-point birds were seen in the morning: Wigeon and Crossbill for Porter, Great Northern Diver for Stansfield and Yellow-browed Warbler for Hinde. Some more Crossbills the next day were worth another point for Hinde, while Richard Brown found a Richard’s Pipit (2 points) on the Narrows and Else picked out a distant Sabine’s Gull (3 points) to put himself back in contention for the week. Else continued his comeback on the Friday with a pair of Wigeons (1 point) and a Great Spotted Woodpecker (1 point) that proved to be the only point-scoring birds of the day.

Windy weather and a cancelled boat extended the week’s event by a day and allowed several competitors to add yet more ‘one-point dross’ to their totals. Almost everybody tried to claim points for a flock of Eiders flying by offshore but, after consideration, it seemed fairest to award Hinde and Porter a point each for independently finding the birds. On-a-roll-Porter scored yet again with a Crossbill (1 point) and a Great Northern Diver (1 point), and Hinde, hot on his heels, soon struck back with a Reed Warbler (1 point). A Hen Harrier (1 point) over the mountain for Else and a Whinchat (1 point) and a Reed Warbler (1 point) for Stansfield were not enough to catch the week’s high-flyers, and no further points were found for the rest of the day.

And so, after another relatively low-scoring event, it was Ben Porter who showed the obs staff how it’s done by storming to victory on 12 points with a week of consistent scoring. Steve Hinde had another good week and came second with nine points, while Else finished third with seven.

Stansfield remains comfortably in the lead in the long tournament with 92 points, followed by Else on 71. A good week for Porter has allowed him to surge ahead in the battle for third place, and he has opened up a nine-point gap over Brown.

No comments:

Post a Comment