Thursday, 30 April 2020

Blackcap Spring

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 42

For me, one of the ornithological discoveries of this lockdown period has been the number of Blackcaps through the garden. We normally have two or three wintering birds, but once they have departed there is the expectation of just a couple of brief singers before a few birds turn up in the autumn. Not this year. For at least a fortnight there has been a daily helping of birds moving through (or around) the garden, mostly males. They invariably sing in brief bursts as they make their way along a ribbon of vegetation that threads through the nearby gardens, none of them staying for more that a few minutes. When I take my daily exercise - mostly around the nearby roads - it is obvious that they are are also plentiful elsewhere - singing birds being heard with surprising regularity. We do have a male holding a (suspected) territory in a small copse within earshot of the garden - his song can be heard from the same area throughout the day. These other songsters are not hanging around though. Some days are busier than others, but I would suspect that some 20-25 birds have passed through.

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OUR COMBINED TOTAL (BRITISH ISLES GARDENS) IS 182 SPECIES   Still to be recorded are: Arctic Skua, Arctic Tern, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Whinchat.

Today's additions are: Spoonbill (Matt P).

Our oversea's gardens (New Zealand and Albania) add an additional 26 SPECIES  

You can find the combined #BWKM0 list by clicking on the right-hand tab above.

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ENTRIES
Our 'garden collective' stands at 61

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Garden firsts
Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - Whimbrel
Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) - Dunlin

There have been 195 garden firsts across the competition.

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Visual interlude - #21 Fraoch Beinn
The western Highlands of Scotland, taken from the peak of Fraoch Beinn. It was a long climb, and awkward descent, taken in the successful pursuit of the exceedingly rare alpine plant, Diapensia.
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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Alastair F (West Mainland, Orkney) 100/61; Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) 74/67; 
Benne A (Tirana, Albania) xx/40; Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/42; 
Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/65; Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/36; 
Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/61; Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/38; 
Chris P (Claygate, Surrey) 43/41; Daniel W (NW London) xx/xx; 
Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/29; Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) 55/44; 
David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) 87/64; Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/50; 
Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/57; Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) 79/83;  
Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/52;  Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/28; 
Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/31; Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/46; 
Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/37; Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) 113/52; 
Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/50; Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/59; 
John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx; Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/68; 
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/41; Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/32; 
Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/58; Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/74
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk)  77/62; Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/92; 
Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) 33/52; Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/112; 
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/62; Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/64; 
Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/53; Oscar D (Chiswick, London) 67/64
Paul D (London) 84/44; Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/52; 
Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/30; Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/15; 
Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) 45/45; Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) 101/80;  Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) 101/55; 
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) 67/69; Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) 67/42; 
Sean M (Pinner, London) 50/40; Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/57; 
Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/47; Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/38; 
Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) 92/70; Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/45
Steve W (Hawes, N Yorks) 91/64; Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 131/77; 
Stuart C (Walkern, Herts) xx/63; Sye W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) xx/42; 
Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/53; Wes A (Capel, Surrey) 96/89

THE CHALLENGE WILL END AT 18.00hrs ON THURSDAY MAY 7th

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

So near...

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 41


Epsom Downs, Surrey. Yesterday morning. You peer out of an upstair's window and there, on the windowsill, is sitting an unfamiliar bird. Exotic and bedraggled. All salmon-pink with black-and-white barred wings - and look at that crazy crest! What is it? It's quite tame, sitting out the heavy rain, so you take a picture. Fortunately you know somebody who is interested in birds and show them the image. A Hoopoe! A rarity from the continent, so best not release the news in these times of social distancing, otherwise you will have a gaggle of rule-breaking birders peering over the fence. You look out for it several times during the day, but it isn't to be seen. It has gone.

Thanks to Josephine S for the alert. Neither she, or myself, saw the bird. I would like to acknowledge the observers for their permission to use the picture, but it is best to maintain their anonymity to put off any birding detectives from trying to track them down. This bird was most probably within a mile of my house. If the Hoopoe is reading this, you are more than welcome to pay me a visit!

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OUR COMBINED TOTAL (BRITISH ISLES GARDENS) IS 181 SPECIES   Still to be recorded are: Arctic Skua, Arctic Tern, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Whinchat.

Today's additions are: Pochard (Alastair F).

Our oversea's gardens (New Zealand and Albania) add an additional 26 SPECIES  

You can find the combined #BWKM0 list by clicking on the right-hand tab above.

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NEW ENTRY

Alastair F (West Mainland, Orkney)
A historical list of 100 and a lockdown total of 61 species so far.

Our 'garden collective' stands at 61

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Garden firsts
Isaiah R (New Malden, London) - Moorhen

There have been 193 garden firsts across the competition.

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Visual interlude - #20 Footpaths
I feel a sense of calm by just looking at this image. It beckons.
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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Alastair F (West Mainland, Orkney) 100/61; Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) 74/67; 
Benne A (Tirana, Albania) xx/40; Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/42; 
Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/63; Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/36; 
Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/61; Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/38; 
Chris P (Claygate, Surrey) 43/41; Daniel W (NW London) xx/xx; 
Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/29; Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) 55/44; 
David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) 87/64; Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/50; 
Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/57; Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) 79/83;  
Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/52;  Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/28; 
Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/31; Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/46; 
Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/37; Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) 113/52; 
Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/50; Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/59; 
John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx; Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/68; 
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/40; Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/32; 
Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/58; Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/74
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk)  77/62; Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/92; 
Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) 33/52; Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/111; 
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/62; Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/64; 
Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/53; Oscar D (Chiswick, London) 67/64
Paul D (London) 84/44; Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/52; 
Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/30; Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/15; 
Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) 45/45; Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) 101/78;  Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) 101/55; 
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) 67/69; Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) 67/42; 
Sean M (Pinner, London) 50/40; Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/57; 
Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/47; Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/38; 
Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) 92/70; Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/39
Steve W (Hawes, N Yorks) 91/64; Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 131/77; 
Stuart C (Walkern, Herts) xx/63; Sye W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) xx/42; 
Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/53; Wes A (Capel, Surrey) 96/88

THE CHALLENGE WILL END AT 18.00hrs ON THURSDAY MAY 7th

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Poetry corner

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 40

I bet quite a few of us can identify with these words, especially those who are locked-down inlanders:

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.


John Masefield.

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OUR COMBINED TOTAL (BRITISH ISLES GARDENS) IS 180 SPECIES   Still to be recorded are: Pochard, Arctic Skua, Arctic Tern, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Whinchat.

Today's additions are: Common Sandpiper (Richard P and Matt P).

Our oversea's gardens (New Zealand and Albania) add an additional 26 SPECIES  

You can find the combined #BWKM0 list by clicking on the right-hand tab above.

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ENTRIES
Our 'garden collective' stands at 60

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Garden firsts
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - Common Sandpiper
Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) - Coot
Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) - Moorhen

There have been 192 garden firsts across the competition.

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Visual interlude - #19 Sea and sky
See poem above. I long to be able to stare out to sea.
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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) 74/67; Benne A (Tirana, Albania) xx/40;
Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/42; Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/63; 
Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/36; Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/61;
Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/38; Chris P (Claygate, Surrey) 43/41; 
Daniel W (NW London) xx/xx; Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/29;
Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) 55/44; David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) 87/64;
Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/50; Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/57; 
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) 79/83;  Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/52;  
Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/28; Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/31; 
Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/46; Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/37; 
Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) 113/52; Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/50; 
Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/52; John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx;
Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/68; Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/40; 
Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/32; Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/56;
Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/71: Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk)  77/61;
Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/92; Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) 33/51; 
Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/110; Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/62; 
Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/64; Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/53; 
Oscar D (Chiswick, London) 67/64; Paul D (London) 84/44;
Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/52; Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/30;
Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/15; Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) 45/45; 
Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35; Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) 101/77;  
Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) 101/55; Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) 67/69; 
Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) 67/42; Sean M (Pinner, London) 50/40;
Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/56; Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/47;
Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/38; Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) 92/70; 
Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/39; Steve W (Hawes, N Yorks) 91/64; 
Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 131/75; Stuart C (Walkern, Herts) xx/63;
Sye W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) xx/42; Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/53;
Wes A (Capel, Surrey) 96/87

THE CHALLENGE WILL END AT 18.00hrs ON THURSDAY MAY 7th

Monday, 27 April 2020

Day-dream believer

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 39

Most of the gardens in the collective have not seen appreciable rain for weeks, so the forecast of a drop of the wet stuff both tomorrow and Wednesday is more than welcome. I have already started to daydream of flocks of terns and waders deciding to cut across Surrey and over my garden in response to it, but in reality will most probably spend tomorrow looking at the cloud and wondering why they haven't all turned up.

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OUR COMBINED TOTAL (BRITISH ISLES GARDENS) IS 179 SPECIES   Still to be recorded are: Pochard, Common Sandpiper, Arctic Skua, Arctic Tern, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Whinchat.

Today's additions are: Bonxie (Richard P) and Bittern (Martin C).

Our oversea's gardens (New Zealand and Albania) add an additional 26 SPECIES  with Benne A, in Albania, adding Golden Oriole, Serin, Sardinian Warbler and Bee-eater.

You can find the combined #BWKM0 list by clicking on the right-hand tab above.

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NEW ENTRY
Our 'garden collective' stands at 60

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Garden firsts
Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) - House Martin
David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) - Bar-tailed Godwit
Arjun D (Wallington, London) - Whimbrel

There have been 189 garden firsts across the competition.

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Visual interlude - #18 Martin Down, Hampshire
This National Nature Reserve has it all. Chalk downland plants and invertebrates to die for and a suite of birds that leave you wondering whether or not you've stumbled back in time, with Corn Buntings and Turtle Doves vying for your attention along with Stone Curlews and Hobby. I've only visited twice, but on both occasions filled my notebook with memorable counts and observations.
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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) 74/67; Benne A (Tirana, Albania) xx/40;
Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/42; Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/63; 
Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/36; Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/61;
Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/38; Chris P (Claygate, Surrey) 43/41; 
Daniel W (NW London) xx/xx; Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/29;
Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) 55/44; David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) 87/64;
Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/50; Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/57; 
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) 79/83;  Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/51;  
Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/28; Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/31; 
Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/46; Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/37; 
Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) 113/52; Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/49; 
Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/52; John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx;
Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/67; Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/40; 
Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/32; Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/56;
Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/68: Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk)  77/61;
Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/92; Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) 33/51; 
Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/109; Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/62; 
Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/64; Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/53; 
Oscar D (Chiswick, London) 67/64; Paul D (London) 84/44;
Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/51; Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/30;
Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/15; Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) 45/45; 
Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35; Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) 101/76;  
Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) 101/54; Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) 67/69; 
Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) 67/41; Sean M (Pinner, London) 50/40;
Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/56; Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/47;
Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/38; Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) 92/70; 
Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/39; Steve W (Hawes, N Yorks) 91/64; 
Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 131/74; Stuart C (Walkern, Herts) xx/63;
Sye W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) xx/42; Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/53;
Wes A (Capel, Surrey) 96/87

THE CHALLENGE WILL END AT 18.00hrs ON THURSDAY MAY 7th

Sunday, 26 April 2020

The raptor stream


#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 38

Blue skies + light winds = raptors drifting through - at least that is the case here in Banstead. Another day of Common Buzzards and Red Kites dribbling through, mostly eastwards. I must have surpassed 300 CBs and 70+ RKs so far during the challenge, but even so, each and every one of them gets a good grilling and they still have the power to excite me. Maybe it's because that I can still clearly remember the days when just the one would have me dancing around the garden with joy. Long may they drift on by...

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OUR COMBINED TOTAL (BRITISH ISLES GARDENS) IS 177 SPECIES   Still to be recorded are: Pochard, Common Sandpiper, any skua, Arctic Tern, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Whinchat.

Our oversea's gardens (New Zealand and Albania) add an additional 22 SPECIES 

You can find the combined #BWKM0 list by clicking on the right-hand tab above.

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NEW ENTRY
Our 'garden collective' stands at 60

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Garden firsts
Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - Bar-tailed Godwit
Steve W (Hawes, N Yorks) - Blackcap
Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) - Shelduck
Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) - Moorhen

There have been 186 garden firsts across the competition.

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Visual interlude - #17 Rye Harbour, East Sussex
A shingle and wetland wonderland by the banks of the River Rother and the shore of the English Channel. Recent reversion of farmland into saltmarsh has expanded the potential of the reserve, which was already a superb place to go birding. It has a fine suite of botanical and entomological highlights as well. If you do find yourself walking along the seashore path, do stop at this lifeboat station. It was from here, on 15 November 1928 that the Mary Stanford lifeboat was launched, in atrocious conditions, to assist the Alice, a ship in trouble off of Dungeness. All 17 of the lifeboat's crew were lost at sea on that mission. As a mark of respect and in remembrance of them, this station was never used again. I always stop to think of those poor, brave souls.
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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) 74/66; Bene A (Tirana, Albania) xx/30;
Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/42; Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/63; 
Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/35; Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/61;
Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/38; Chris P (Claygate, Surrey) 43/41; 
Daniel W (NW London) xx/xx; Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/29;
Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) 55/43; David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) 87/62;
Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/50; Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/57; 
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) 79/77;  Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/51;  
Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/28; Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/31; 
Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/46; Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/37; 
Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) 113/48; Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/48; 
Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/52; John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx;
Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/67; Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/40; 
Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/32; Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/56;
Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/68: Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk)  77/61;
Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/90; Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) 33/51; 
Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/109; Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/62; 
Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/64; Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/53; 
Oscar D (Chiswick, London) 67/64; Paul D (London) 84/44;
Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/51; Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/30;
Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/15; Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) 45/45; 
Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35; Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) 101/75;  
Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) 101/54; Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) 67/69; 
Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) 67/40; Sean M (Pinner, London) 50/40;
Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/52; Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/46;
Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/38; Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) 92/70; 
Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/39; Steve W (Hawes, N Yorks) 91/64; 
Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 131/74; Stuart C (Walkern, Herts) xx/63;
Sye W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) xx/42; Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/53;
Wes A (Capel, Surrey) 96/87

THE CHALLENGE WILL END AT 18.00hrs ON THURSDAY MAY 7th

Saturday, 25 April 2020

60 up

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 37

Our Bridport correspondent (Gavin H) is on a roll, having had much success with his new noc-mig recording gear. After a Stone Curlew earlier in the week, he has followed this up with a Nightjar last night, which had the decency to call while he was out in the garden. My own 'naked' efforts have really hit a slump, with very little being heard beyond Tawny Owls and Foxes. But the show must go on, I know that the birds are up there...

We also welcome our 60th garden into the collective. Still 12 days to go...

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OUR COMBINED TOTAL (BRITISH ISLES GARDENS) IS 177 SPECIES   Still to be recorded are: Pochard, Common Sandpiper, any skua, Arctic Tern, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Whinchat.

Our oversea's gardens (New Zealand and Albania) add an additional 22 SPECIES 

Today's additions are: Nightjar (Gavin H)

You can find the combined #BWKM0 list by clicking on the right-hand tab above.

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NEW ENTRY
Daniel W (NW London) - details to come

Our 'garden collective' stands at 60

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Garden firsts
Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) - Curlew
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - Canada Goose
Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) - Nightjar

There have been 182 garden firsts across the competition.

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Visual interlude - #16 Thundry Meadows, Surrey
A great place for plants and invertebrates, but, alas, also brilliant for ticks. This Surrey WT reserve is a series of water meadows along the banks of the River Wey, near Elstead. I spent a day getting too low down in the bracken and came home with 22 ticks on me. The removal of all of them was undertaken with haste and success.
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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) 74/66; Bene A (Tirana, Albania) xx/30;
Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/42; Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/63; 
Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/35; Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/61;
Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/38; Chris P (Claygate, Surrey) 43/41; 
Daniel W (NW London) xx/xx; Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/29;
Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) 55/43; David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) 87/62;
Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/50; Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/57; 
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) 79/77;  Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/49;  
Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/28; Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/31; 
Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/46; Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/37; 
Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) 113/48; Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/48; 
Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/52; John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx;
Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/67; Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/40; 
Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/32; Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/55;
Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/61: Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk)  77/61;
Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/90; Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) 33/51; 
Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/108; Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/62; 
Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/64; Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/53; 
Oscar D (Chiswick, London) 67/64; Paul D (London) 84/44;
Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/50; Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/30;
Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/15; Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) 45/44; 
Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35; Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) 101/75;  
Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) 101/53; Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) 67/69; 
Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) 67/40; Sean M (Pinner, London) 50/40;
Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/50; Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/43;
Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/38; Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) 92/70; 
Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/39; Steve W (Hawes, N Yorks) 91/63; 
Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 131/74; Stuart C (Walkern, Herts) xx/63;
Sye W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) xx/42; Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/52;
Wes A (Capel, Surrey) 96/87

THE CHALLENGE WILL END AT 18.00hrs ON THURSDAY MAY 7th

Friday, 24 April 2020

Local competition

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 36

A bit of a garden 'day off' for me, with a brief hour session between 07.00 - 08.00 hrs, then several 10-15 minutes looks throughout the day. Projects indoors are finally winning over my time. I will, of course, be sitting out there again tonight! I now have the added incentive of trying to compete with Steve B (in nearby Ewell, only a mile away), who has gone and purchased a fully-blown noc-mig set-up. Every call he records and identifies will be a reminder to me of what I am missing. He is already reaping the benefits, as you can see in today's 'garden firsts' below.

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OUR COMBINED TOTAL (BRITISH ISLES GARDENS) IS 175 SPECIES   Still to be recorded are: Pochard, Common Sandpiper, any skua, Arctic Tern, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Whinchat.

Our oversea's gardens (New Zealand and Albania) add an additional 22 SPECIES 

You can find the combined #BWKM0 list by clicking on the right-hand tab above.

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ENTRIES
Our 'garden collective' stands at 59

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Garden firsts
Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) - Little Grebe, Moorhen
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - Greenshank, Golden Plover, Little Grebe

There have been 179 garden firsts across the competition.

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Visual interlude - #15 Wye Downs, Kent
This part of the North Downs does have a bit of the South Downs about them, but then this Kentish section, all the way to the coast at Dover, is pretty treeless. Wye is the home to a very rare orchid and a very rare moth. Thankfully I've seen them both.
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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) - 74/66; Bene A (Tirana, Albania) xx/30;
Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/37; Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/63; 
Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/35; Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/61;
Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/38; Chris P (Claygate, Surrey) - 43/41; 
Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/29; Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - 55/43; 
David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) - 87/62; Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/50; 
Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/56; Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - 79/77;  
Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/46;  Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/28; 
Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/31; Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/46; 
Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/37; Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) - 113/48; 
Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/47; Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/52; 
John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx; Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/67; 
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/40; Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/32;
Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/55; Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/61:
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - 77/61; Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/89;
Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) - 33/51; Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/107;   
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/62; Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/62; 
Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/51;  Oscar D (Chiswick, London) - 67/64;
Paul D (London) 84/44; Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/48;
Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/30; Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/15;
Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) - 45/44; Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35;
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - 101/75;  Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - 101/53; 
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - 67/68; Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) - 67/40; 
Sean M (Pinner, London) - 50/39; Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/50;  
Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/43; Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/37; 
Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) - 92/70; Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/38;
Steve W (Hawes, N Yorks) - 91/61; Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 131/74;
Stuart C (Walkern, Herts) - xx/63;  Sye W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) - xx/40;
Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/52; Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - 96/87

THE CHALLENGE WILL END AT 18.00hrs ON THURSDAY MAY 7th

Thursday, 23 April 2020

14 days and counting...

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 35
Dylan W kindly provided this image of a Chiffchaff from his Thanet, Kent garden
There was a mini-landmark here in Banstead today, as I chalked up my 70th species for this challenge when a group of four Common Swifts scooted through. Back on March 20th I estimated that I should reach 60, possibly 65 species, but considered 70 to be too ambitious a target. I have now used up all of my 'banker' species however. Of the possibles still to come there is an outside chance of a late Fieldfare or Brambling; a Lesser Redpoll in what has been a dire winter for them locally; or a drop-by Willow Warbler or Lesser Whitethroat, neither annual in the garden. I have been aware of reports of flocks of Mediterranean Gulls flying over gardens to the south, west, north and east of me and scan the skies in hope. I still haven't given up on a Marsh Harrier or Osprey paying me a fleeting visit - and have a quiet confidence that there must be some more waders to come - especially if I carry on sitting outside in the dark. Two weeks to go. There is still much to play for.

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OUR COMBINED TOTAL (BRITISH ISLES GARDENS) IS 175 SPECIES   Still to be recorded are: Pochard, Common Sandpiper, any skua, Arctic Tern, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Whinchat.

Our oversea's gardens (New Zealand and Albania) add an additional 22 SPECIES 

Todays additions are: Glossy Ibis (Martin C) and Lesser Whitethroat (Matt P)

You can find the combined #BWKM0 list by clicking on the right-hand tab above.

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ENTRIES
Our 'garden collective' stands at 59

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Garden firsts
Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) - Ring Ouzel
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - Coot
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - Mediterranean Gull

There have been 174 garden firsts across the competition.

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Visual interlude - #14 Ramsdean Down and Rake Bottom, Hampshire
Whisper it, but I find the South Downs to be a more majestic and wild place than my beloved North Downs. Here before you is the haunt of Duke of Burgundy Fritillaries, but you will spend as much time gawping at the spectacular scenery as the butterflies.
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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) - 74/66; Bene A (Tirana, Albania) xx/30;
Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/37; Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/62; 
Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/35; Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/61;
Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/38; Chris P (Claygate, Surrey) - 43/40; 
Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/29; Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - 55/43; 
David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) - 87/59; Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/50; 
Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/54; Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - 79/77;  
Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/46;  Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/28; 
Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/31; Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/46; 
Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/37; Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) - 113/48; 
Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/47; Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/52; 
John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx; Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/67; 
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/40; Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/32;
Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/54; Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/61:
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - 77/61; Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/89;
Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) - 33/51; Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/106;   
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/62; Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/62; 
Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/51;  Oscar D (Chiswick, London) - 67/64;
Paul D (London) 84/44; Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/48;
Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/30; Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/15;
Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) - 45/44; Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35;
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - 101/75;  Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - 101/53; 
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - 67/65; Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) - 67/40; 
Sean M (Pinner, London) - 50/39; Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/50;  
Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/43; Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/37; 
Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) - 92/70; Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/36;
Steve W (Hawes, N Yorks) - 91/59; Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 131/74;
Stuart C (Walkern, Herts) - xx/63;  Sye W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) - xx/40;
Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/52; Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - 96/87

THE CHALLENGE WILL END AT 18.00hrs ON THURSDAY MAY 7th

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

More on noc-migging

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 34

There has been a lot of chat going on about noc-migging recently, mostly emanating from new adoptees of this dark art. As much as it is bringing a new dimension to their birding, it is also causing them to ask some fundamental questions. One of our competitors, Jono L, wrote a compelling post about it which you can read by clicking here. As a naked noc-migger I hear all of my overhead calls as they happen, but must confess to wishing that I had recordings of some of the calls that I do hear, so that I have the ability to subsequently check them. Last night was a case in point. I was out in the garden as darkness fell when a single call - fairly distant - came out of the gloom.

"Chew-it!"

I froze, hoping that it would call again. Nothing. My mind was then in turmoil. It sounded like a Spotted Redshank. But then again, had I heard a distant female Tawny Owl? I normally wouldn't consider that you could confuse the two, but context goes out of the window as you stand in the dark with your imagination running riot. It didn't sound quite right for the owl - but then again, being honest, not quite right for the wader either. There was nothing I could do but forget about it. Consign it to the 'I wonder what that was' folder. If only I had obtained a recording...

I'm still mulling it over today. The angel on my right shoulder is saying "No Steve, you're getting carried away with yourself, it was a Tawny Owl." However, the devil on my other shoulder is whispering "Tawny Owls go 'ku-vit' not 'chew-it!!'"

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OUR COMBINED TOTAL (BRITISH ISLES GARDENS) IS 172 SPECIES   Still to be recorded are: Pochard, Common Sandpiper, any skua, Arctic Tern, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Whinchat, Lesser Whitethroat.

Our oversea's gardens (New Zealand and Albania) add an additional 22 SPECIES 

Todays additions are: Bar-tailed Godwit (Steve G)

You can find the combined #BWKM0 list by clicking on the right-hand tab above.

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ENTRIES
Our 'garden collective' stands at 59

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Garden firsts
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - Whitethroat

There have been 171 garden firsts across the competition.

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Visual interlude - #13 Beesands, Devon
When I first came across this view, while walking the South Devon coastal path, I had to rub my eyes in disbelief. It was as if somebody had constructed my dream birding patch. I didn't know that this village existed, never mind the small water body that is separated from the beach by rough grassland. Look at all those fields, all the hedgerows and those copses! What goodies have graced this site and which birder had the good fortune to call it home? And it gets even better - there is a pub in the village! That is Start Point you can see further along, the Prawle just around the corner. Nirvana!
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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) - 74/66; Bene A (Tirana, Albania) xx/30;
Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/37; Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/61; 
Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/35; Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/61;
Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/38; Chris P (Claygate, Surrey) - 43/40; 
Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/29; Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - 55/43; 
David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) - 87/59; Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/50; 
Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/53; Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - 79/77;  
Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/46;  Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/28; 
Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/31; Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/43; 
Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/37; Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) - 113/48; 
Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/47; Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/52; 
John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx; Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/67; 
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/40; Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/32;
Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/54; Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/61:
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - 77/60; Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/85;
Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) - 33/50; Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/104;   
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/60; Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/62; 
Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/51;  Oscar D (Chiswick, London) - 67/64;
Paul D (London) 84/44; Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/47;
Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/30; Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/15;
Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) - 45/44; Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35;
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - 101/75;  Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - 101/53; 
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - 67/64; Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) - 67/40; 
Sean M (Pinner, London) - 50/39; Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/50;  
Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/43; Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/37; 
Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) - 92/69; Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/36;
Steve W (Hawes, N Yorks) - 91/58; Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 131/74;
Stuart C (Walkern, Herts) - xx/63;  Sye W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) - xx/40;
Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/52; Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - 96/86

THE CHALLENGE WILL END AT 18.00hrs ON THURSDAY MAY 7th