The victorious BINS team, 2017

It’s that time again – when the great and good minds of Suffolk ornithology temporarily cease outdoing each other with their year lists, and bring it all down to a couple of hours at the Staithe Maltings, Bungay in the challenge that is Bird Brain 2017.

Could it really be a year since the trophy came romping back to the WBC home team after a couple of years at BTO HQ in Thetford?

But there have been some unexpected results since then – Trump, Brexit, Leicester City – so who knows how this one will turn out?

Four teams as usual submitted themselves to the WBC high-tech extravaganza of computers, screens, buzzers, PA equipment and projectors, under the quiz-mastership of Chris McIntyre and the double-scorers of Steve and Kathy Piotrowski who ensured there were no stringy results…..

And here they are:

RSPB: Ian Barthorpe, Adam Rowlands, Jon Evans and Robin Harvey

BTO: Andy Musgrove, Mike Toms, Steve McAvoy, Paul Stancliffe

BINS: Craig Fulcher, Lee Woods, Scott Mason, Craig Holden

WBC: Roger Walsh, Jon Warnes, Steve Howell, Eric ‘D’Weasel’ Patrick

RSPB Minsmere



We start at the semi-finals (assuming all the other rounds against lesser mortals have already taken place), with WBC vs RSPB and BTO vs BINS

Two fairly ‘nip n tuck’ rounds ensued, competing on bird i.d., calls and song, chicks and nestlings and general natural history.

But….both champ teams of the past 4 years crashed out, WBC going down 25 points to 20, and BTO by 28 to 21, guaranteeing a new engraving for 2017.


D’Weasel fails to mask his disappointment when his transfer deal to BINS falls through after failing a fitness test……

So to an interval, with a superb supper provided by Kathy and Jane Bond, raffle (organised by Jon Evans) and a couple of beers while the finalists applied Oil of Wintergreen and talked tactics.

Round one (identification of mainly warblers) stayed fairly tight, but it was round two where the temperature changed, identifying birds by their eyes only, with BINS streaking away, points-wise.

Perhaps somewhat shaken going into round 3 (identification of Suffolk reserves), Adam Rowlands and Robin Harvey missed their buzzers on an aerial shot of Minsmere, while Jon Evans failed on Dunwich Heath, even though his own house was just out of shot!

By the 4th round (‘What Bird Am I?) it looked like a long way back for RSPB – and that’s how it turned out, with BINS taking the trophy by 42 to 31.

So, it was just to award the prize for the winner of the audience rounds, which went to Ivan Levett, with a very impressive score of 48 out of 60 – of course, a typical birder would spend the rest of the year listing the ones he missed…..

Thanks from WBC to everyone who took part and contributed food, raffle prizes, tech equipment, and particularly Kathy and Jane for the buffet and Chris McIntyre, who annually devotes many, many hours putting the quiz together.

See you next year.