Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Golden Wellies - half time

The half time scores (end of spring migration) have just been released for The Golden Wellies, the RSPB’s internal competition to find the best passage wader site each year (last years result here and a photo of the Frampton trophy cabinet above).  There are both league and knockout elements to the competition to test good wetland management throughout the year.  Monthly counts of waders are recorded, they have to be ‘feet down’ on a managed fresh/brackish scrape or flood (not tidal).

The top of the Premier League has a familiar feel with Frampton Marsh just pipping Minsmere with a total of 27 species so far.  Amongst the cluster of sites just below them, Havergate Island has leapt up the table this year after the completion of the new scrape at Hollesley.  However, this years most improved site so far is Middleton Lakes, heading The Championship on 24 species.  

Spring wader highlights were dominated by Black-winged Stilts, being recorded at 9 sites. Traditional spring migrants such as Temminck's Stints were in lower numbers than usual but June saw a typical flurry of Red-necked Phalarope records.  The tables stand as follows:  

The Premier League                                             The Championship
1. Frampton Marsh 27 species                             1. Middleton Lakes  24 species
2. Minsmere 26                                                     2. Arne  21
3. Havergate Island 24                                         3. Saltholme 21 
4. Rainham Marshes 24                                       4. Campfield Marsh 20
5. Burton Mere 24                                                5. Cattawade 18
6. Exe Estuary 23                                                 6. Blacktoft 17
7. Dearne Valley 22                                             7. Loch of Strathbeg 17
8. Old Hall Marshes 22                                        8. Otmoor 17
9. South Essex Marshes 22                                  9. Leighton Moss 17
10. Fairburn Ings 21                                            10. Mid-Yare 15
11. Dungeness 21                                                11. Belfast Lough 15
12. Lodmoor/Radipole 21                                   12. Fen Drayton 15
13. Ouse Fen 19                                                   13. Pulborough Brooks 12
14. Titchwell 19                                                   14. Snettisham 12
15. Conwy 15                                                      15. Ham Wall 11
16. Ouse Washes 14                                           

The knockout Gordon Allison Trophy has progressed to the quarter-final stage (to be played during July) with the draw shown below. A bitter local derby will be fought out between Fairburn and Dearne Valley, while in-form and muddy Middleton Lakes (below) will be hoping to dispatch dried-up old Dungeness.

Belfast Harbour v Conwy                              Burton Mere v Blacktoft
Fairburn Ings v Dearne Valley                     Frampton v Mid Yare
Middleton Lakes v Dungeness                    Minsmere v Exe Estuary

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