Assynt Field Club Bird Race 2012 – Re-count Required
The annual Assynt Field Club Bird Race took place on Sunday 20th May and a double figure turnout of 16 participants was treated to a double figure temperature of 14oC. Little did we know, as the five teams left Stoer Hall at 10.30 am, how hot the title race would get!!
The route was changed slightly this year. It was still two hours to see and hear as many bird species as possible on and from the Stoer Peninsula. However, Field Club member, Leigh, who operates ‘Living the Dream’ snack van at Stoer Head Lighthouse had very kindly offered a discount to all those participating in the race. So it was decided the finish would be at the Lighthouse and not, as usual, back at Stoer Hall.
Two hours later, after a hard fought campaign and having given nothing away to the opposition, the teams rendezvoused at the Lighthouse car park. First order of the day was tea and fresh pancakes to sustain us all through the gruelling count of the sightings.
Gwen, who organises the event each year, was again the Returning Officer and calmly went around each team collecting their total number of species seen.
When all the results were in the winners, by a margin of one, were announced. However, it started to look like a number of birds had submitted more than one ballot paper on the winner’s list and as such, in accordance with rule 7(b) sub-para (d), a re-count was required.
Back to Leigh for more tea and pancakes! At last, after many, many nervous seconds the new winners were declared with a total of 46 species. This was taken calmly by the now ousted team, who simply continued to eat the winner’s sweets, and with great dignity by the newly declared winners, the Crafty Curlews, who did a jig around the car park.
It has to be said that each team had a respectable count and no one lost their deposit!
In no particular order, other than alphabetic, the highly impressive combined count of 60 bird species was:-
Arctic Skua; Arctic Tern; Black Guillemot; Buzzard; Carrion Crow (Very rare in Assynt); Chaffinch; Common Gull; Common Sandpiper; Common Tern; Cormorant; Cuckoo; Curlew; Dunlin; Dunnock; Fulmar; Gannet; Great Black-backed Gull; Great Northern Diver; Great Skua; Great Tit; Greenfinch; Greylag Goose; Guillemot; Herring Gull; Hooded Crow; House Sparrow; Kittiwake; Lapwing; Lesser Black-backed Gull; Lesser Redpoll; Linnet; Mallard; Meadow Pipit; Moorhen; Oystercatcher; Pied Wagtail; Puffin; Raven; Razorbill; Redshank; Red-throated Diver; Reed Bunting; Ringed Plover; Robin; Rock Dove; Sedge Warbler; Shag; Siskin; Skylark; Snipe; Song Thrush; Starling; Swallow; Tufted Duck; Twite; Wheatear; Whimbrel; White Wagtail; Willow Warbler; Wren
Common Seal, Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise, Minke Whale, Otter and Stoat were also seen.
All in all a superb day in good company and a good laugh into the bargain. Thanks to everyone who took part and see you next year.