The unsound approach

LATEST NEWS:  25/03/07 ITS OVER OK, sorry to those people who were expecting closure on this but it all rather fizzled out, which was a relief because we were all sick of points arguments in the pub when we should have been talking about the intractable nature of the Tselinograd mystery warblers debacle or which member of Girls Aloud we fancy more etc. Basically Dan won by spending lots of time at Smerwick Harbour but hands down to him because he didn't go to Shetland and found loads of good bird in Cambs which was once-upon-a-time declared a bird free county. Early indications suggest that the compeitition won't run this autumn, but watch this space...   

23-25/10/06 JG & AL make a brief trip out west, Ring-billed Gull & Surf Scoter for Alex, Iceland Gulls for both

23/11/06 We remembered that we forgot about our Shorelarks. Yes we are that desperate.

17/11/06 Rob Martin has just remembered that he found a Snow Goose in Lincs a while ago, and has asked for some points.

10/11/06 Unassailable Dan Brown keeps on finding - this time a Dotterel in Cambs.


Competitive birding in autumn 2006

Winston Churchill once said ‘History will be kind to me for I intend to write it’. And indeed he did, as he negotiated our great country through World War II. The UK has produced many great warriors, triumphant heroes, and names that will be etched in the annals for the rest of time. We at Punkbirder recognise the greatness needed to achieve such stature. That's why, this autumn, we will be looking to carve our own names on the face of history. We will scour the marshes, the sueda and the dunes; we will scrutinise the tidal mudflats, clifftop woods and the open seas. Weather charts will be studied and tide tables examined. We will pack our ‘scope, bins, digicam, handycam, tins of ham and silken lens cloth and set off on our quest. For he who finds, does indeed keep. 
After last year’s trial run, the ultimate birding competition is back: Finders Keepers. The aim of the game: to find some rare birds. Pride is at stake, and so is some money. Punkbirder associates will each put a sum of money into the hat, and come the winter, when the last humes has been counted, we'll total up the scores and give the spoils and respect to the victor.

How it works:

For each find of any consequence, the finder will be awarded points by the Punkbirder Panel (i.e. the other competing members). The maximum number of points that can be awarded is 100 (for some cosmic 1st for Britain), and as a guide, BB rarities will receive at least 10 points (including the species they recently sacked off the list, cos they're still pretty rare). Points will be allocated on merit, taking into account location and current rarity status, plus any quality antics prior to the find . So, half-decent birds at crap sites (e.g.Whitlingham Lane Country Park) are eligible for points (although not many), and finding scarce migrants in Norfolk will earn more points than finding them in Shetland.

Last autumn was crap, but the team still pulled out such crackers as Dusky Warbler, American Golden Plover, Baird's and White-rumped Sandpipers, Rose-coloured Starling, and a plethora of scarce like Barred Warblers, Pecs and Ring-billed Gulls. This autumn will be better for sure.
The Rules:

  • Punkbirder self-found rules apply.  
  • ‘Autumn’ in this instance runs from 20th July until 10th December 2006.   
  • Any decent find that is verified by a photo will earn an extra point.   
  • Any find made whilst wearing genuine ‘country gent’ attire will earn an extra point (note: photographic evidence necessary for point to be awarded).   
  • The Punkbirder Panel reserves the right to say ‘Yeah, okay, nice one...’ in a heavily sarcastic fashion to any suspicious sounding record.   
  • The Punkbirder Panel decision is final. 
  • For species that are pretty scarce but often turn up in big numbers, eg. Leach's Storm Petrel, British Storm Petrel,  Long-tailed Skua, Black Tern, Yellow-browed Warbler, you can only claim points for the first individual you find. For all other decent species, points can be claimed repeatdly if you find them more than once.


 Dan Brown

Current score: 270 points


Rares: AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER Reed Fen, Cambs, 16/10/06 18 points.

AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER Smerwick Harbour, Kerry, 28/10/06 whistled in expertly from on-high, 16 points.

BAIRD'S SAND Carrahane Strand, Kerry, 25.09.06. 15 points plus 1 for photo.

BLACK KITE mid-Wales somewhere on private land (he cannot tell us or he will get fired) 12/09/06 20 points.

SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER Smerwick Harbour 08/09/06. 18 points, plus 1 point for photo. Pos-hoc analysis reveals Dan's final act in Ireland part 1 was to digi-blast a entirely new bird, leaving Semipalmated Sandpiper almost too common to bother with on these pages... Previously had co-found another SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER with RDM at the same site (05/09/06) for another 18 points, plus 1 point for photo.  Finally Dan is claiming yet another new SEMI, again photographed at the same site, this time on 25th Sept, for another 19 points.

SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, Blennerville 06/09/06. 18 points, plus 1 for photo. Again, great timing coupled with lashings of Brown's finest preserves. The fact that it was apparently found by Michael O'Clery is irrelevant, as this news was not known prior to finding the bird (or afterwards, for days it seems). Maximum respect also to Keith Langdon, who in the midst of a flu ridden fever noticed this bird before Dan and made the mistake of asking him if it was a Semi....

WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, Tra Beg 05/09/06. 15 points, plus 1 point for photo. Solid work, no doubt cream was appearing on Dan's scone around this stage of the day. Apparently a totally different looking bird to that previously found down the road. Waiting for photos...
Biggest day score in FK so far, a whopping 51 points for a few hours professional wader barbequeing

MARSH SANDPIPER adult at Pagham Harbour (West Sussex) 29/07/06. 30 points, plus 1 point for his photographs. Read the full story of the find here

Scarce: RICHARD'S PIPIT flyover at Tetney Lock, Lincs 19/10/06. 7 points. WILSON'S PETREL, Brandon Head 06/09/06. 14 points. Great work again by Dan, not a great year for them and though they are obviously always off that coast in early autumn sightings from the mainland remain infrequent. BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, Carrahane Strand 06/09/06. 8 points, plus 1 point for photo. The fact that two others were simultaneously being found at the site is irrelevant, Dan's bird was separate and then joined the others, in Dan's word's "to form a threesome".  A return to the site on 08/09/06 produced 2 more BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS, making a full-blown orgy and a new Kerry single site record, bringing an extra 12 points, plus 1 point for photo. Finally, another return in search of some spanner gull in late September brought another Buff-breased, photographed for another 9 points.  DOTTEREL in Cambridgeshire, 10/11, 9 points. 

Dross: MONTAGU'S HARRIER juvenile mid-Wales 11/09/06 4 points. OSPREY mid-Wales again somewhere on private land 13/09/06 2 points. STORM PETREL Porth Ysgaden (Gwynedd) 28/08/06 1 point (non-repeatable). BALEARIC SHEARWATER Uwchmynywdd (Gwynedd) 28/08/06 3 points (non-repeatable). RED KITE - a migrant bird at Winterton (21/07/06) 1 point. RED KITE - over the saltmarsh at Wells-next-the-Sea (23/08/06) 1 point. BLACK TERN- Cley (Norfolk) 23/08/06. 1 point (non-repeatable).  POM SKUA at some point no doubt, 1 point. LAPLAND BUNTING  in Wales in October, 2 points.

James Gilroy

Current score:  230 points


Rares: PECHORA PIPIT at Virkie, Mainland Shetland co-found with Jez and Rich 14/10.06  35 points plus 1.

BLYTH'S PIPIT at Sumburgh Farm, Mainland Shetland  co-found with Alex, Rich and Rob 12/10/06. 75 points plus 1

AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER juvenile Ferriter's Cove (Kerry) 19/09/06 16 points plus 1 point for photo.

BONAPARTE'S GULL adult Castlemain Harbour/Inch (Co. Kerry) 13/09/06. 23 points plus 1 for photo.

Scarce: ORTOLAN Grutness (Shetland) 11/10  8 points plus 1 for photo. COMMON ROSEFINCH  Haroldswick (Unst) 6/10 3 points. COMMON ROSEFINCH  Boddam (Shetland) 8/10 co-found with Rik Addison, 3 points. BARRED WARBLER Levenwick (Shetland) 13/10  3 points.  BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER Warham Greens (Norfolk) 19/08/06. Co-find with Rob - 13 points plus 1 point for photo. BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER juvenile Baile an Reannaigh, Smerwick (Kerry) 19/09/06 8 points plus 1 point for photo. PECTORAL SANDPIPER juv. at Smerwick Harbour  (Co. Kerry) 16/09/06. 7 points. BARRED WARBLER found on East Hills, Wells-next-the-Sea (Norfolk)13/8/06. 5 points, plus 1 point for the photo. RING-BILLED GULL 2nd winter Smerwick Harbour (Kerry) mid-Sept co-find with Simon Mitchell 4 points. RING-BILLED GULL adult Inch (Co. Kerry) 13/09/06 4 points. ROSEATE TERN x2 (both adults) Breydon Water (Norfolk) 01/08/06. 2 points for each individual.

Dross: POM SKUA 1 juv Inch Bay (11.09.06) 1 point. BLACK TERN x3 at Breydon on 20/8/06 earn 1 point. YELLOW BROWED WARBLERS on Shetland. 2 pointsLAPLAND BUNTING on Shetland, 2 points.  SHORELARK 16 on Blakeney, 3 points.2  ICELAND GULLS, Dingle Harbour, 2 points

  Richard M*ores

 Current score: 220 points


Rares: PECHORA PIPIT at Virkie, Mainland Shetland co-found with James and Jez 14/10.06  35 points plus 1.

BLYTH'S PIPIT at Sumburgh Farm, Mainland Shetland  co-found with Alex, James and Rob 12/10/06. 75 points plus 1.

SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER Smerwick Harbour 05/09/06. 18 points. Co-find with Dan, great sticking with one site 'til it coughs up the goods +plus 1 point for photo. Rich was also apparently involved in at least one more SEMI-P in the Smerwick Bay free-for-all, so what the hell - another 19 points.

ROSE-COLOURED STARLING, Smerwick Harbour 05/09/06. 15 points. Notable find, hard to pick from the billions of vulgaris infesting the region but not a real exciting rare.

Scarce: GLAUCOUS GULL at Loch of Spiggie 4 points, BARRED WARBLER at Sumburgh, 3 points. COMMON ROSEFINCH at East Burra, 3 points.  RICHARD'S PIPIT Waxham flew over calling 17/09/06 7 points. WRYNECK x2 north of Burnham Norton 16/09/06 10 points.  RING-BILLED GULL 2nd winter, Carrahane Strand 03/09/06. 4 points. RING-BILLED GULL 2nd winter, Smerwick Harbour 04/09/06. 4 points.

Dross: LITTLE AUK Sidestrand 02/11/06 1 pointLAPLAND BUNTING (x4) Trimingham 29/10/06 2 points. GREAT SHEARWATER Brandon Head 03/09/06. 3 points. Non-repeatable off Ireland. SABINE'S GULL Brandon Head 03/09/06. 3 points. Non-repeatable off Ireland. POMARINE SKUA Brandon Head 03/09/06. 1 point. RED-NECKED GREBE north of Burnham Norton 16/09/06 1 point. BLACK TERN north of Burnham Norton 16/09/06 1 point. WOOD SANDPIPER juvenile Cantley British Sugar beet factory (Norfolk) 12/09/06: 1 point. YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS on Shetland, 2 points. GREAT TIT at Kergord, Shetland, 3 points. PINTAIL Whitlingham Country Park (Norfolk), 1 point RED-CRESTED POCHARD (x2) Wroxham Broad 1 point.

Rob Martin

Current score: 168 points

Rares: SNOW GOOSE at River Nene mouth, 25/10/06. Technically rare, but bear in mind that a) his mate found it first, b) he phoned it out as the wrong species, c) it is only a re-find of the norfolk bird, d) it's probably an escape and e)  it's a goose and therefore shit. All in all, worthy of 6 points.

BLYTH'S PIPIT at Sumburgh Farm, Mainland Shetland  co-found with Alex, James and Rich 12/10/06. 75 points plus 1.

ARCTIC WARBLER at Boddam, Mainland Shetland 09/10/06. 21 points plus 1

TAWNY PIPIT at Wells, Norfolk 24/09/06. 17 points.

CATTLE EGRET immature at Burnham Norton (Norfolk). A wild immature which seemingly moved to Northants shortly after arriving. 20 points plus 1 point for photo (on BIS's Cley Birds website).

Scarce: BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER at Warham Greens (Norfolk) 19/08/06. A simultaneous joint find with James Gilroy 13 points, plus 1 point for photos. Rob also gets 1 point for being dressed in full country gent regalia (left) when the bird was found.

Dross: RED KITE at Sutton Bridge at River Nene mouth 19/09/06. 1 point.  POM SKUABlakeney Point, 09/09/06: 1 point.  BLACK TERN - various in The Wash (Lincs): 1 point. WOOD SANDPIPER - various with quite a few at Abberton Reservoir (Essex): 1 point. YELLOW BROWED WARBLERS on Shetland, 2 points. LITTLE AUK  rescued from the teeth of a ravenous herring gull, Sheringham, Burnham Overy Dunes, 1 point. LAPLAND BUNTING, 19/10/06, 2 pointsSHORELARK 16 Blakeney 11/11/06 3 points.  



 Alex Lees

Current Score: 125 points [was in Brazil until October]


Rares: BLYTH'S PIPIT at Sumburgh Farm, Mainland Shetland  co-found with James, Rich and Rob 12/10/06. 75 points plus 1.

OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT Kergord, Maindland Shetland, 09/10/06. 20 points plus 1 for photo.  

Scarce: GLAUCOUS GULL at Loch of Spiggie 4 points, COMMON ROSEFINCH  Burra, Mainland Shetland co-found with Rich 08/10/06 3 points. BARRED WARBLER at Sumburgh Farm,  Shetland co-found with Rich and Jez, 3 pointsRING-BILLED GULL, Smerwick Harbour, 24/11/06 4 pointsSURF SCOTER, Brandon Bay, 25/10/06 5 points

Dross: POM SKUA in Norfolk, 1 point, multiple YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS on Shetland, 2 points for season, BALEARIC SHEARWATER Lundy, Devon 26/10/06 3 points (non-repeatable).   SHORELARKS 16, Blakeney 11/11/06 3 points, ICELAND GULL Dingle Harbour, 24/10/06 1 point.   

Simon Mitchell

Current score: 94 points

Rares: UPLAND SANDPIPER at Norwick on Unst co-found with Paul Harvey and Micky Maher 06/10/06. 45 points plus 1 for photo.

TAWNY PIPIT at Wells, Norfolk co-found with Rob 24/09/06. 17 points.

BAIRD'S SANDPIPER juvenile, Lady's Island Lake 02/09/06. 15 points.

Scarce: BARRED WARBLER Uyesound (Unst) 19/09/06 3 points. RING-BILLED GULL 2nd winter Inch (Kerry) 19/09/06. 4 points. RING-BILLED GULL 2nd winter Smerwick Harbour mid-Sept co-find with James Gilroy 4 points. YELLOW BROWED WARBLERS on Shetland, 2 points.

Dross: POM SKUA in Yorkshire earns 1 point. OSPREY at Minsmere in October, 3 points.

 Jez Bird

 Current score: 53 points

 Rares: PECHORA PIPIT at Virkie, Mainland Shetland co-found with James and Rich 14/10.06  35 points plus 1 for photo.

Scarce: GLAUCOUS GULL at Loch of Spiggie 4 points, FIRECREST Grutness (Shetland) 12/10/06 19th for Shet. 8 points. BARRED WARBLER Sumburgh Farm (Shetland) 12/10/06 3 points.

Dross: YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER - many on Shetland, 2 points for the season.

Guernsey Dave

 Current score: 23 points


Scarce: RICHARD'S PIPIT Blakeney Point 16/09/06 7 points. WRYNECK Blakeney Point 16/09/06 - go on then, 5 points. WRYNECK x2 Guernsey mid-September 06. Penalised for being in France - 3 points each. SHORELARK Blakeney with Busta 14/10 3 points.

Dross: POM SKUA in The Channel Islands earns 1 point. BLACK TERN in The Channel Islands earns 1 point. 

 Simon Mahood

 Current score: 7 points

Dross: LAPLAND BUNTING (x4) Trimingham 29/10/06 2 points. POM SKUA in Norfolk, 1 point, YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER  at Winterton, Norfolk 14/10/06 4 points..



 Andy "Busta" Symes

 Current score: 4 points

Scarce: SHORELARK  Blakeney Point, Norfolk co-found with Guernsey 14/10/06 3 points.

Dross: POM SKUA in Norfolk, 1 point.

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