So kudos to Jono for not only selecting the correct date, but also finding the first Wheatear to grace Wanstead. In the long history of the Wanstead Wheatear Sweepstake this unique double has only ever been repeated once before by Rob Sheldon...way back in 2018.
The roll of honour now reads...
- 2018 Winner: Rob Sheldon - Date 16th March - Finder: Rob Sheldon
- 2019 Winner: James Heal - Date 17th March - Finder: Tony Brown
- 2020 Winner: Jonathan Lethbridge - Date 16th March - Finder: Jonathan Lethbridge
As I type...the 'Golden Wheatear Chalice' is being polished and engraved with the name of this year champion and plans are being made for the big presentation, however due to Covid-19 and government restrictions on large gatherings we may have to scale back the celebrations and limit the number of attendees at this year event. I had hoped to persuade Mr Oddie to present the trophy but due to the planned restrictions on the movement and self-isolation of the over 70's this looks like it's going to be a non-starter, so yet again I may have to step up to the plate. Keep an eye on social media for all the highlights, news and interviews from this top showbiz birding event - that's if the government hasn't closed all the pubs, in this case I'll drive by Jono's house in full body biohazard suit and just chuck the trophy over his garden fence!
The good birders of Wanstead have all agreed to donate £10 each (£5 for each date pick) to a worthy charity and I am pleased to announce that this years beneficiary will be the OSME (Ornithological Society of the Middle East) with three future projects planned in Lebanon, Azerbaijan and Egypt the 2020 champion will be given the honour of choosing which worthy project to support.
Which just leaves me to thank all of this years competitors for there participation, good humour, genorosity and sporting prowess and roll on next year...