Sunday 31 December 2023

That was the year that was...

 That was the year in which Longhaven recorded its highest ever total, finishing on a mighty 135 species for the patch, smashing the previous highest by a whole 9 species.

Best birds of the year were undoubtedly:

1st - Semi-palmated sandpiper

2nd - green winged teal.

3rd - Taiga Bean goose

A whole plethora of patch firsts this year included an array of waders: little ringed plover, curlew sandpiper, little stints, purple sand and of course the semi-p.  Other full fat patch ticks included rather shamely little egret and sooty shear'. 

Notable absences included yellow-browed warbler and both grey wag and siskin both of which I vaguely remember getting but never properly recorded, so they're not on the list.

So that's it for 2023.  Another year slides into the record books and another one begins.

Good luck every one hope the patch rares will be plentiful.

Final scores on the doors for 2023 - 135 species, 112.22%.

Happy days


Saturday 23 December 2023

More "just off the beach" japes

 Urged into uncharacteristic action by Seppy's "just off the beach" tickage, I've been checking Squince a fair bit over the past week, more out of desperation than expectation, it has to be said. With him breathing down my neck, just .02 of a % behind in the race for "best of the losers", anything would do -- stock dove, peregrine, collared dove... hardly too much to ask, is it?

What I certainly wasn't expecting was to stumble into this fine Slavonian Grebe at Squince this very morning. 

A-la Seppy's LTD, it was literally "just off the beach".

Happy daze! Moves me to a not too shabby 103.23% and crucially, more than one species ahead (I hope) of yer man at Galley.

Friday 15 December 2023

Not done yet

Yes indeedy - just as a certain Mr Faulty was languishing on his laurels, settling comfortably into 2nd place on the podium, and indeed repeatedly trying out the "Best of the Irish" moniker, I managed to strike back this very am with a fine long-tailed duck just off the beach - excellent! I probably manage to see one of these on patch every 2 or 3 years, and they do sometimes hang out on the lake over winter. Regardless if this one hangs about, it was there today and that was the main thing! 

Actually, I just took a look at my patch stats spreadsheet, and it has revealed that said species is actually much rarer then I realised, with only three previous records; 2013, 2016 and 2020. So only my 4th record for the patch! Bingo Bango! Just need one more to put me back into second now....

Monday 11 December 2023

The battle for second hots up...

So, we're into last gasp duck, gull and wader territory. Yippeeee... all my favourites!

It's been a while since I last updated the blog... although I've been keeping the score comparatively current. I actually started several posts (thanks to Seppy's incessant nagging), only to find that I really couldn't be arsed and sacking it off after the first paragraph. Ah well... this little roundup will have to suffice.

After an autumn that didn't really happen (no decent migrants -- with the exception of Lesser Whitey -- oh, and Cliff Swallow... did I mention I found a Cliff Swallow?), I was away in Africa for pretty much all of November, so had no additions to the year list at all last month.

Once back, I hit the patch with the renewed optimism only absence and being overtaken by Seppy can muster. Naturally, said enthusiasm didn't take long to wane... but I did manage to score Dabchick for the year, and jam a tasty female Scaup to boot, lifting my tally to 102.42% and, critically, taking me back past Seppy into second place on the podium.

Cracking female Scaup -- joined today by a bonus Ring-necked Duck (not a year tick alas)

I might add one or two more before calling it quits (I still need Perg for the year, FFS)... but reckon it's pretty much a battle for second place now. Bushveld has the top spot sewn up (or should that be stitched up🤔) with his 110% effort.

Still... top Irish patch would do... along with what must be a higher than average chance of bagging New Ol' Snowy, thanks to the aforementioned Swallow.

Monday 27 November 2023

Full Fat Patch Gank

In what is simply amazeballs news, Saturday saw five Whopper Schwanns grace Wanstead airspace for about 45 seconds. Conclusive photographic evidence was of course obtained, and if you zoom in 10000x and squint you can easily see that these can't possibly be anything else. Not only is this a patch first for Derek (that's me), it is also a patch first for the patch - Whopper Schwann has NEVER been recorded here. We have records of Bewick's from the 1930s and 40s, but never this slightly bigger (and much gankier) Schwann. With this kind of cachet it is hard to see how this could fail to win the coveted, ahem, Black Scoter, but as the other contender is from Fifa HQ I expect underhand voting, bribery and various other forms of corruption, sorry I mean 'fair play' will probably be the deciding factor.

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Full fat patch action

 Yes indeedy, while the regular autumn migrants have all but dried up at Galley (no ybw, no lesser whitey, no firecrest etc), there's still been a bit of score-age going on. Just as well really, given the hours I've been putting in!

Imagine my surprise when I saw a goose coming off the flooded carrot field last Thursday! Although it was flying into the sun, after a few terrifying moments when I thought I wasn't going to be able to ID it, it did the daycent thing and banked round back west, allowing me to clock the dark head and pinky bit on the bill - pink-footed goose ya bas! A true patch gold ingot, and even better, ganky enough to almost certainly secure me the Black Scoter - the trophy for best full fat patch gank ticked in a year!

A pink-footed goose yesterday

After a celebratory slap-up lunch, I was back out in the field that very afternoon, whereupon I flushed a fine yellow wagtail, which are considerably less than annual around here. In addition, over the next coupla of days I added long-tailed tits, lapwing and a fine short-eared owl. Even better was the phone call two evenings ago, telling me there was a glossy ibis on the way from Red Strand. I rushed outside avec bins, and sure enough, five minutes later there it was, flopping slowly west, safely onto my patch year list! Finally for now, a cracking male ring ouzel was kind enough to materialise right in front of me on this mornings dog walk. Which was nice. So, the upshot of all this is that I've cracked the near mythical 140 species barrier for only the 5th time in 20 years, but the second consecutive year. Plus only another 10 species required to beat my best ever total of 149! And plenty species still to get! Don't rest easy just yet Mr Bushveld!


Monday 23 October 2023

Filling in the gaps

 I'm getting nothing but grief from Seppy to update the blog; it's not even the end of the month.  Luckily though things have been moving along just quite nicely this month.  The best of the more recent birds was fine drake green-winged teal enjoying the fine ambience to be found in the waters of the Notsogreatpool.  A full fat patch tick and the second yank of the month... so to speak.

Bagging both long-eared and barn owls the other night were both much appreciated.  A seawatch squeezed in a Pom and the fairly typical October migrants of blackcap. brambling and woodcock all keep the tally going in the right direction.  

South-easterlies for the rest of the week could produce something and there's still a few gaps to be filled.

A total of 132 species is, by quite a way, the highest ever yearly total for the patch and puts me on 109.70%

Happy days


Monday 9 October 2023

Better than average

 After the fun and games of August, September was a quiet affair with just the four patch ticks, the best of the limited bunch being long-tailed skua.  Fortunately October has perked the patch up a bit, with the very best being a fine Semi P Sand on the Notsogreatpool.  Unfortunately it didn't find the pool to its liking and departed south with a dunlin not too long after being found.  However, a full fat patch tick and the first Yank for the patch, that and the first jack snipe of the autumn got me to within a smidgen below the magical 100%.

Luckily a sniff of south-easterlies this weekend brought in a few birds, including two lovely little grebes (only second patch record) and some brambling. 

Pushing me on to 123 species for the year and tipping me over the better than average and onto 102.2%.  

Still time and species to get.

Happy days


Monday 11 September 2023

Galley's Marshy Bits

 Yes indeedy, it's been another red-hot early September period on Galley, with a fair bit of quality birding. Things began with the south-easterlies last week which brought in a few pied flycatchers, spotted flycatchers, whinchats  and best of all, a cracking wryneck, which was nice.

As the SE winds continued into the weekend new birds were pretty thin on the ground, but it always felt like there was something lingering somewhere. And sure enough, a last ditch wander down Dirk late on Saturday afternoon produced a belter in the form of a marsh warbler in the fuschia bank. I'd been watching the two large sycamores which were still in the sun, hoping for an icky or the like, when I heard something rustling about close by in the fuschia. A gentle pish and it dropped down to eye level - a gorgeous olivey-green acro with straw-coloured legs! Sadly, it didn't hang around in view long enough for a photo (might have been too close to focus anyway) but a cracker none the less. 19 years to the month since my last one on Galley, so worth a quick reminder of that bird....

A marsh warbler 19 years ago (photo: M O'Keefe)

As if that wasn't enough excitement, I was on my homeward stumble yesterday lunchtime when I came across a huge flock of starlings at Shite Lane. Imagine my surprise when one of them turned out to be a juvenile rosy starling! Managed to get scope views before we lost the bird and it hasn't been seen since. Great to finally get one ON patch, rather than having to count that dubious off-patch pinkish blob at red strand that could have been anything!

And then to top it all off, I scored 11 (count 'em) brent geese this very pm! All to play for!

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Royzah's Return

 Finally, after much hounding, Royzah (for it is he) has calculated his 2023 patch percentage to date. Sadly its ahead of mine, so that plan backfired somewhat, but thats showbusiness! The dead tap-dancing maestro has been giving it 110% on patch of late, and has had some rewards, in the form of  spotted flycatcher, pied flycatcher, garden warbler, ruff, and golden plover, and to top the lot a fine barred warbler, which turned out to be his 80th one ever (but then again he is ancient).

A visiting poaching bam twitching his barred then slipped a wryneck past him, but that happens to the best of us, specifically me the other day when Old Spoons did exactly the same.

So all the scores in order then, and I think for once even Basil doesn't have any undeclared stuff hidden away.

All to play for as the autumn gets underway...

Tuesday 22 August 2023

Wader bonanza on the Notsogreat Pool

It's been a while. As is usually the case June and July were quiet affairs with just the four patch ticks in June and two in July.  With returning waders: common sand, greenshank, dunlin and ringo making up the bulk of the total.

The Notsogreatpool is a large, shallow pool in the middle of an ungrazed field.  The water levels fluctuate and typically in July and August it is little more than a patch of dried mud.  Unfortunately, over the years, the pool has lived up to its name and is typically shite and under performs compared to other puddles.  However, with water levels looking perfect the pool is exceeding itself over the last couple of days, with nine species of wader on it including three full fat patch ticks: curlew sand, little stint and LRP.  "Almost Patch Gank" according to Seppy but a reflection on how poor the Notsogreat Pool usually is and how good it could be. 

In addition to these three gems, a couple of adult knot today were only the second record and my first ever autumnal wood sands made up for missing them in May (a definite bonus).

On top of that, a cracking 1st wr Red-backed shrike on Saturday has pushed my total along nicely and shuffles me up to the top of the leader board.

111 species - 92.27%

Happy days


Tuesday 1 August 2023

Legless on patch...

Breaking news that some poaching b*****d had found a Lesser Yellowlegs down at Squince lagoon earlier in the week had me scrambling to the patch to verify said bird.

Alas, turns out there was nothing but redshank and greenshank in attendance. I checked again the following morning, with similarly unproductive results. 

As luck would have it I bumped into the finder -- who told me exactly where he'd seen the bird -- through "his old binoculars", mind you. Checking said location, there was indeed a lone wader foraging along the small patch of muddy shoreline exactly where he'd had his yellowlegs. Scope views confirmed it was a juv redshank, in spite of every effort to string it into the aforementioned 'legs. 

After yet another scan through the local redshanks I decided enough was enough (there's only so much shank action one can take of a morning, in all fairness) and assigned the yellowlegs to what Seppy likes to call the "One lucky observer" category of finds.

With no yellowlegs in attendance, here's a stock photo of a redshank off the internet for ya, as I couldn't really be arsed looking for one of my own.

Not wanting to leave the patch empty handed, I grudgingly embarked on a short seawatch -- my second in as many weeks, no less -- which yielded Great Shear to add to the Cory's, Storm Petrel and something else tickable I can't quite recall now from last week.

All of which compensatory tickage trundles the score along to a healthy 85.48%. Happy daze!

Cory's Bonanza

 Yes indeedy, the seawatching has been rather good so far this autumn, and I have caught up with veritable truckloads of cory's shearwaters past Galley, along with smaller number of great shearwaters, an epic wilson's petrel, just the one balearic shearwater, a couple of sabine's gulls, three arctic terns, two tysties (scream for me Stevie G) and a rather brief (for me) fea's-type petrel

All this puts me up to pole position too, until Basil remembers some gank that he hasn't year-ticked, or actually goes out and does a proper seawatch himself....

There's not a whole lot left to get on the year-listing front as far as seabirds are concerned, but that won't stop me having another crack if the wind goes south-west again over the next few weeks...

Tuesday 18 July 2023

Patch Gold Once Again

After weeks of the summer doldrums, I finally thought that I should have a quick scope of the lake this pm, just in case. Imagine my surprise when I saw a tern with an all dark cap sitting on the "beach" with a couple of gulls...

A quick relocation, plus the addition of my glasses from the house and I was back trying to get more on the tern when a coot flew into view and started swimming about - top bobbins year tickage right there! OK they are pretty much annual these days but still.

Back to the tern, but wait, whats that wader approaching the tern? Why its a redshank, which is another year tick, but probably mostly because I'd omitted to tick it back in the winter.

Back to the tern - all dark bill with no yellow tip, no shaggy crest, longish looking dark legs - hmmm, I'm going to need a closer look at this...

Gull-billed Tern, Kilkeran Lake


Amayzing! Full fat patch tickage - just like that! Another large slice of luck cashed in! Coot and Redshank! Ooooooof!

Thursday 15 June 2023

Bully's Special Prize

 Yes indeedy, it was as if Jim Bowen himself had knocked on the door to tell me a cracking male bullfinch was in the apple tree calling away! I could scarcely believe me ears, but luckily went to check what was calling like a bullfinch, only to see it mere metres away! Unbelievable! Certainly haven't had bullfinch in summer before - we got the odd autumnal one every few years so great to jam in on one today!

Tuesday 6 June 2023

Okay May

 A nice spell of easterlies at the beginning of the month brought in a fine selection of migrants including: garden warbler, lesser whitethroat, pied fly and a redstart.  No rares but quality patch birds and the first time since 2014 that all four of these have occurred in the same year.

Garganey are always a bonus bird on patch and a nice drake on the 17th made it three years on the trot this species has turned up on the Not So Great Pool. However Bird of the Month must go to the only full fat patch of the year so far with a finely plumed LITTLE EGRET appearing briefly on the Not So Great Pool on 12 May.

A total of 17 patch ticks this month contributing to 13% of the annual total is pretty much average.  Finishing the month on 94 species and 78.14%.

June should quieten things down with an average of just 2 patch ticks this month... but who knows.

Happy days



Tuesday 23 May 2023

Done till the autumn

 Yes indeedy - cashed in reed warbler this am - now breeding on patch and audible from me patio. Result! Also, a fine, flyover, calling ringed plover from my desk as well. 

So now on 96 sp (69.23%) but that's probly me done till the start of July when the seawatching kicks off....

Sunday 14 May 2023

Of (un)known origin

 The appearance of four un-ringed bar-headed geese on patch this week caused a flutter.

Could they be wild?

Luckily Seppy stepped in. Demonstrating his encyclopaedic knowledge of all things avian he provided incontrovertible proof that these four rather handsome wildfowl had indeed originated from far flung eastern lands.  

If proof were needed their arrival coincides with the recent arrival of an un-ringed grey-headed lapwing along the east coast (and briefly the Moray coast), along with an un-ringed drake Baikal teal (associating in a wild sort of fashion with mallard on the Macduff swimming pool) and a fine yellow billed kite down south somewhere. 

All got to be wild.... aren't they.

Below are the results of the extensive scientific study undertaken by Lord Seppy

Grey-headed lapwing (top) v bar-headed goose (bottom).  Showing extensive range overlap.  One is a high altitudinal long-distant migrant the other migrates a bit, mainly around paddyfields.

Case closed ma Lord.

Thursday 11 May 2023

Spring Seawatch

 Yes indeedy - I took full advantage of a short south-westerly blow on sunday pm to get over the wall at Galley and kick off the seawatching. In a short hour I'd added loads of puffins, one arctic skua, two bonxies and best of all, five (count 'em) pomarine skuas, four of which had full cutlery. Which was nice. 

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Long-legged shenanigans bring April to a close

A smattering of returning usual suspects kept the scoreboard ticking ever so slowly northward through April, allowing me to bang in swallow, the two martins, willow warbler and whitethroat among others. But the best of April's efforts were to come late in the month... last Thursday (27th) to be precise.

I was checking the shore of the lake for night herons, as you do, when this black and white thing flew overhead... with legs out back that just kept on going.

Black-winged Stilt -- SCORE. It kept flying out over the lake and I lost it behind some willows, with no way to know where, or if it landed. Still -- a full fat patch tick, and a potential contender for patch find no less. And to think, if Seppy hadn't nagged me to go out I'd have stayed in the office for the afternoon.

After a quick scoot around failing to detect the errant stilt, I gave up and headed down to check the wee lagoon between Blind Harbour and Squince Beach. And lo, there I found two more of the long-legged beauties feeding between the wee islands at the eastern end of the lagoon.

Black-winged Stilts
Lanky wee pink-legged wonders on patch

They even hung around long enough for Seppy to get his slow arse over from Galley the next day to verify them, and obliged by posing for a few shots too. Majik! Especially as Squince has a reputation for being "a bit shit for waders".

With April out of the way, a resplendent Reed Warbler singing its tits off from the north-east corner of the lake yesterday kick-started May's tally, catapulting me temporarily back into the top-spot.


Monday 1 May 2023

April - The Prelude

A steady month with a couple of nice surprises.

A total of 18 patch ticks, made up with regulars and the first summer migrants.

A hooded crow on the 20th was only a second for the patch, following one last year. But bird of the month and, so far, bird of the year was a fine Taiga Bean Goose first seen on 28th and still present, was also a second for the patch with one previously on 11 April 2018.  Although not comparable with Galley's Night Heron and it is only a goose, but it is still a very fine patch bird.

77 for the year, 64.01% pushes me gently up the leader board.

Happy Days


Tuesday 18 April 2023

Night 'Ron

 Yes indeedy - its good to be back on patch! After an extended holiday in the tropics, I'm finally back, blundering around Galley, trying to catch up with missing year ticks. A bit better in terms of migrants yesterday (in that there actually were some), with wheatear, willow warbler, house martin all secured for the year.

Best was to come in the afternoon, when I noticed a small heron/owl type bird circling round and then dropping in front of the neighbours house. A quick re-location and lo - a cracking adult night heron in the wee stream flowing out of the lake - full fat patch tickage too! Old Spoons was quickly dispatched avec his lens, thusly....

A night heron, yesterday (C. Cronin)


Thursday 6 April 2023

No March Madness

 A fairly typical March for the patch, no great shakes, no big surprises.

Although a total of 14 new birds for the month is the highest March tally since records began and the total for the year being 59 species (49.04%) is exactly the same as the same time last year.

Bird of the Month was a corn bunting seen on the 2 March and the first one since May 2021.

Happy Days


Saturday 4 March 2023

The Big Yawn - February

 A better than average February reflects the relatively low tally for January.  A total of 21 patch ticks this last month, my highest February total since records began and contributes a nice 17% to my annual target.  

Almost all were the as expected regulars for the time of year, but the one day drake goosander was a bonus being my only my second record for the patch and the first patch bonus bird of the year.

A total by the end of February of 37.41% is still a good way short of the norm for this time of year.  

Happy Days


Monday 6 February 2023

Patch Gentrification

 How the times change.  

Ten years I've been working the Longhaven Patch.  At the time it was largely fallow fields, hooching with larks and pipits.   Alas the fallow fields are now cereal crops and the larks have long gone. But still the patch has remained largely undisturbed, with few visitors and my birding areas rarely if ever visited by anybody other than me  

But now... what have they done?  They're bunged in a whole load of footpaths all over my old 'paths' and labelled them all, in the hope of encouraging people to walk all over my patch....

But... Look how nice they are (or will be), they are very nice and wide and smooth.  They've also very thoughtful scattered around the whole patch some nice comfortable birding benches.  Ideal for scoping over the notsogreat pool.

As for the birds, this year has started quiet.  The years always do start quiet but this year particularly so. With just 24 species (19.95%) by the end of the month.  The lowest and slowest start since records began and absolutely nothing of note.

Happy Days


Monday 30 January 2023

Farewell New Old Snowy

 Finally managed to pack up New Old Snowy over the weekend all ready for the short stay (only 11 months till it'll be coming home) in the Kingdom of Kent. Hopefully this time the pearly king himself will be able to refrain from pawing at it with his pie-greasy mitts....

Fair enuff advice really after last time around

Monday 23 January 2023

Here we go again

 First update from the Hall of bogs, and we are in third place just above Galley. Nothing of note to report yet but I suspect the only red grouse from any patch this year. Might it be a contender for Ol' Snowy next year on this basis?

Tuesday 17 January 2023

Predictable trickle of resident gank -- with special guests

And so January trundles merrily on. Luckily, Squince is providing a steady trickle of resident gank to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Things started well on New Year's Day, when the lone whopper that had been lingering most of last year (before disappearing just before Christmas), returned with a friend. The coot stayed into the new year too, as did the female shoveler. Score!

Always lovely to see a cracking pair of whoppers on patch!

Other than that it's been the usual suspects all the way... with a couple of notable exceptions.

First up, a fine little auk on Blind Harbour on the 10 January -- only my second ever, and quite the find on patch. Picked it up in flight while scanning for divers... first thought was puffin, but it looked awfully small and dumpy. It splashed down onto the water and good views through the scope clinched the ID. Majik!

Alas my rudimentary dodgyscoping skills weren't up to relocating the bird on the phone screen when attached, so no shots. By the time I'd dismantled the dodgyscoping contraption for another look the bird had disappeared. Anyway, it defo was one... so anyone out there of the mindset "if you don't have shots, you didn't see it" can FRO!

The other exception was a great crested grebe on the sea just off Trá an Oileáin yesterday (while looking for coal tits). A full-fat patch tick -- which is hardly exceptional given this is only my second year doing Squince -- but its also the first one I've seen off this stretch of coastline in the 20+ years I've been here. Happy daze.

All of which pushes me to 62.10%, leapfrogging Shakey to take the top spot... for now.

Game on!

Saturday 7 January 2023

And the winner is....

 Yes indeedy, the votes have finally all been casted and counted. and then the IP addresses were all checked and all Basil's childish prankster gangster votes have been kicked oot, leaving the following final votes:

In joint last place, with zero votes - Basil's Fea's-type petrel and the Proclaimers unidentified Been Goose species

In 4th place, with one novelty vote (from Basil) - Pheasant

In 3rd place, with two votes - Lesser Scaup

In 2nd place, with a whopping (but not whopping enuff) three votes - Seppy's amazeballs Western Subalpine Warbler!

Alas, and alack however, there can only be one winner, and even though its probly not even all that rare in kentish circles, all the northern and south-western gimps on here who didnt vote for pheasant, voted for Shakey's Dartford Warbler!!!! So with a whopping five (count 'em again), that's five votes, Shakey wins Old New Snowy for only his second time, after that well dodgy released Great Bustard "in off" a few years back. Congrats to Shakey, and hopefully Old New Snowy will be winging its merry way to Folkestone before the year is out....

Old New Snowy in his rightful habitat - he'll be back in 2024....

Sunday 1 January 2023

Best Patch Find 2022

 Yes indeedy, it has been decreed that there is no obvious outright winner for the best patch find this year and so for the first time in ages we will have to endure the misery of a public vote. No doubt the usual suspect will do his best to b*gg*r up the results but such is life. Remember, as always, the voting question is "which of these species would you most like to find on your patch?" 

So, the runners and riders in no particular order are featured below:

In One - Shakey reckons Dartford Warbler was his best patch find at Da Cleefs but what say you?

In Two - Basil weighs in with a quality find in the form of a female Lesser Scaup, but is it glamourous enough to win?

One of these ducks is apparently a lesser scaup but not shure which one....

In Three - They didn't even bother to ID it to species level, so can the Proclaimer's claim of Bean Goose be a serious contender?

In Four - Big Royzah stumbled across a Rosefinch as his best patch find on the Don, but does it blow your trumpet?

In Five - The only serious contender really, and a kwality score for Seppy at Galley Head - you really should be voting for Western Subalpine Warbler

Vote for me please

In Six - He really shouldn't get two cracks at it, but Basil's two Fea's-type Petrels off Squince beats the pants off Lesser Scaup so we'd best include it really

Basil celebrates his big find

In Seven - ahem, well, poor Derek didn't want to be left out but Pheasant is the best he could come up with - it wasnt even a full fat patch tick so there's very little* chance of this winning, no matter how many votes it gets

So thats it - the remaining riders didn't feel their efforts were worthy enuff to enter a contender - so be it - better luck next year.

To cast your vote, simply click here

 *Pheasant will not win - use your vote elsewhere!

Ten years of tears

 Yes indeedy - its been 10 long years since I've been king of the heap, but as of midnight last night I'm officially back on top and the Golden Mallard will soon be returning to its rightful and true home on my mantelpiece!

The official 2022 final scoreboard is presented below for all posterity thusly:

A scoreboard yesterday

So all to play for once again! Lets see how 2023 turns out - good luck and let the game begin again!