Saturday, 16 October 2010

The 2010 Bardsey Autumn Birding Tournament
Week 11: Competition Review and Results

Week eleven of the tournament saw the observatory fully booked with visitors in eager anticipation of the thrilling birding experience and breathtaking rarity bonanza that the legendary October new moon period was promising. Sadly, the week didn’t quite live up to such lofty expectations, but at least there were some more Wigeons and Reed Warblers to keep the tournament ball just about rolling. As well as Richard Brown, Richard Else, Ben Porter and Steve Stansfield, competitors this week were Steve Hinde (competing for his fourth and final week), Simon Hugheston-Roberts, Ian Wright, Rachel Porter (making her competition debut), and Bob Normand who has specifically requested to be mentioned “in heroic terms” in this weekly review.

Dawn had barely broken on Sunday morning when Rachel Porter, out for her brisk pre-breakfast circuit of the island, speed-walked into the lead with a couple of Snow Buntings (2 points) on the summit of the mountain. By mid-morning, some of the slightly less energetic contestants had rolled out of bed, lethargically finished their hot porridge and mugs of coffee, and notched up a few points for themselves. Stansfield found a Yellow-browed Warbler (1 point), a Firecrest (1 point) and some Crossbills (1 point) without leaving the obs garden; Ian Wright spotted some more Crossbills (1 point), also from the obs garden; Brown found a Reed Warbler at the lighthouse and another Firecrest when he arrived at Cristin; and Else found a flock of Eiders flying past at sea (1 point). Ben Porter found the third Firecrest of the day (1 point), but then, under much duress, had to leave the island for a couple of days of nail-biting rarity anxiety.

Monday was less eventful: a Great Spotted Woodpecker (1 point) for Brown, a Reed Warbler (1 point) for Stansfield and the first Fieldfare of the autumn (1 point) for Hinde were the only scoring birds. The visitors took command of the competition the next morning though. Hinde leapt straight into the lead with a Twite (the first 4-point bird for three weeks), followed by another new Great Spotted Woodpecker (1 point) and a Hen Harrier (1 point); and Hugheston-Roberts also completed a hat trick of scarcities with a Wigeon (1 point), a Black Redstart (1 point) and some Snow Buntings (2 points). These two competitors continued to score the next day too, with two Long-tailed Tit points for Hinde and a Common Redstart point for Simon. Richard Brown found another Reed Warbler (1 point) in his garden to stay in touch with the leaders.

Bob Normand heroically found a Rook (0 points).

Ben Porter arrived back on the island immensely relieved not to have missed much during his short sojourn to the mainland, and soon found the first Jacksnipe of the autumn for one point. Hugheston-Roberts, the week’s wildfowl specialist, found a Pochard on the west coast and received a fairly miserly two points for this considerable island rarity.

The final day of the competition began sometime in the wee small hours when Rachel Porter, crepuscular mountaineer and Snow Bunting finder extraordinaire, struck again in near-darkness to score two more points before most people had woken up. Simon’s duck of the day was a Wigeon (1 point), and Hinde found a Great Northern Diver (1 point) and another Hen Harrier (1 point).

At the end of the week then, it was Steve Hinde who ended his month-long visit in triumph by storming to victory on 11 points. Simon Hugheston-Roberts came second with a very respectable eight points, followed by Richard Brown on five, and Rachel Porter and Steve Stansfield on four points each. Ben Porter finished on two and Else finished on a pretty woeful one point. Bob Normand failed, albeit heroically, to score any points at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment