My UK Year List - 2014

  • 117-118) GREAT WHITE EGRET and LONG-TAILED DUCKS at Mary's Lake, Earls Barton GP, 9 January
  • 116) Barnacle Goose, Emberton Park, 9 January
  • 114-115) SMEW and Cetti's Warbler at Great Hardmead Lake, Amwell, 7 January
  • 113) Reed Bunting, Tyttenhanger, 7 January
  • 112) Tree Sparrow (32 birds), Tyttenhanger, 7 January
  • 111) Sparrowhawk, West Hyde, 7 January
  • 110) Mandarin Duck, Burnham Beeches NNR, 7 January
  • 100-109) Curlew, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Common Shelduck, Kittiwake and Mediterranean Gull at Church Norton, 6 January
  • 99) RUDDY SHELDUCK, Sidlesham Ferry, 6 January
  • 96-98) Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone and Rock Pipit in Shoreham Harbour
  • 95) Red-breasted Merganser, Widewater, 6 January
  • 94) GREY PHALAROPE, Hove Lagoon, 6 January
  • 93) Grey Partridge, Broom, 5 January
  • 92) Goosander, Woburn Lakes, 5 January
  • 91) Skylark, Totternhoe, 5 January
  • 90) Yellowhammer, Totternhoe, 5 January
  • 89) Corn Bunting, Totternhoe, 5 January
  • 88) Water Pipit, Wilstone, 5 January
  • 87) SABINE'S GULL, Weston Turville, 5 January
  • 86) Common Scoter, Brogborough, 4 January
  • 85) GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, Stewartby Lake, 4 January
  • 84) Red-legged Partridge, Hatch, 4 January
  • 83) Common Kestrel, Langford, 4 January
  • 82) GLOSSY IBIS, Frensham, 4 January
  • 81) Goldcrest, Frensham, 4 January
  • 80) Green Sandpiper, Lynsters, 3 January
  • 79) Stock Dove, Lynster's, 3 January
  • 78) Egyptian Goose, Lynsters Farm, 3 January
  • 77) Common Chiffchaff, Stockers Lake
  • 76) SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF, Stockers Lake
  • 75) Siskin, Stockers Lake
  • 74) Dunnock, Stockers Lake
  • 73) Ring-necked Parakeet, Stockers Lake
  • 72) Lesser Redpoll, Stockers Lake
  • 71) Coal Tit, Chaffinch House
  • 40-70: Nuthatch, Greylag Goose, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Common Redshank, Common Snipe, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, LITTLE STINT, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Wagtail, Goldeneye, Meadow Pipit, Greenfinch, Marsh Tit, Dunnock, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Bullfinch, Jay, Red-crested Pochard, Wren, Collared Dove (all at Tring Reservoirs), Brambling (Ivinghoe), Herring & Great Black-backed Gull, CATTLE EGRET (Briarhill Farm, Calvert) & Green Woodpecker
  • 1-39 all local, Chess River Valley & Shardeloes Estate: 1 January 2014: Chaffinch, Common Starling, Woodpigeon, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Common Magpie, Mute Swan, Mallard, Moorhen, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Common Buzzard, Canada Goose, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Pochard, House Sparrow, Common Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Pheasant, Gadwall, Kingfisher, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Little Grebe, Common Gull, Red Kite, Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Mistle Thrush, WOODCOCK, Treecreeper, Greenfinch and Water Rail

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Year Listing in the UK

Lee Evans has been Year-listing in the UK since 1977 and has achieved annual totals of over 300 species ever since. Although he has recorded in excess of 360 species on some nine occasions, his record stands at 386 species - achieved in 1996. Adrian Webb in Year 2000 recorded at least 378 species, making him by far the highest-listing individual to compare with Lee. In terms of Life Listing, Lee has recorded 577 species in Britain and Ireland and 853 species in the wider Western Palearctic region.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Mike Lawrence's excellent portrayal of a Corn Bunting and Richard Bashford's record shot of 499 of the Stotfold flock


A band of heavy rain moved through the region throughout the morning bringing some localised flooding. Temperatures dropped for a while too (to 3 degrees C) before picking up during the afternoon. A cold SE wind was blowing.

Spurned on by Richard Bashford and Francis Tusa, I checked out the Stotfold bunting feast today and was overwhelmed by the sheer number of birds - a truly wonderful experience. Also checked out the Little Egret roosts at dusk, and caught up with a few missing Bedfordshire Year-ticks.


Still no sign of December's Common Stonechats, but 3 LITTLE EGRETS again (including two feeding in the Chess just east of the bridge), a Grey Heron and 2 Little Grebes.


Following a report of a Dipper seen on 1 and 17 January, I went over and checked the Bulbourne in both directions either side of the inn. A Green Sandpiper was the only bird noted, although the habitat is perfect for a vagrant Black-bellied Dipper.


Two RED KITES circling together at 1133 hours over Junction 8 of the M1 just east of Hemel at TL 097 076.


Well, what a spectacular. I arrived on site shortly after midday and after following the footpath to just beyond the Poplar plantation, came upon the three stubble fields harbouring an impressive number of wintering farmland species. A guy was walking four dogs in the fields and was scattering birds everywhere. Consequently, the 'clicking' mass of CORN BUNTINGS erupted, moving from the east field to the west and landing in the shorter stubble just short of the houses. Now, I had a chance to click-count them, and carefully panning the 'scope from left to right, amassed an enormous total of 738 birds (five counts in total, registering 611, 696, 738, 722 and 704 whilst in the stubble). Later, the flocks dispersed into two main groups, and on one occasion all flew up into the tall Poplars - this resulted in even higher counts, with the peak reaching 859 birds - a flock of Spanish steppe proportions and truly awesome. This is the largest single flock of Corn Buntings I have ever recorded in Britain and a truly significant find. Corn Buntings have become seriously depleted in numbers in recent years so a flock of this proportion is truly outstanding. The birds were quite wide-ranging during my stay, smaller parties branching off and flying south across the A 507.

In addition to the Corn Buntings, there were also 220 EURASIAN SKYLARKS, 38 Chaffinch, 25 Reed Buntings, 50 Yellowhammers and several Linnets, as well as 34 Stock Doves (in one feeding flock), 87 Common Starlings, 106 Redwings and a few Fieldfares. Two Common Kestrels were in the vicinity but I did not see the Merlin (despite returning towards dusk).


See map opposite. Leave the A1 at the A 507 Shefford turning and continue west on the new bypass to beyond the second roundabout parking in the layby on the south side, often utilised by a 'bus' cafe. Walk back east towards the A1 and after 150 yards, walk north past the 6-bar metal gate and take the track off to the right. Continue 120 yards through the small plantation and this brings you out into the large stubble fields, where the central footpath provides you with ample opportunities for viewing. The fields are just SW of Stotfold village.


The winter-plumaged BLACK-NECKED GREBE was showing very close inshore to the NW corner of Peacock's Lake. The site also held 2 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Little Grebes, 6 Mute Swans (including two first-winters), 12 Gadwall, 28 Eurasian Wigeon, 40 Northern Pochard, an adult drake RED-CRESTED POCHARD and 114 Coot.


A LITTLE EGRET was showing very well standing adjacent to a small ditch just west of the B 658 at SP 159 479, yards south of the Hatch turning.


And still no Beds Red-legged Partridge! The fields where I normally see them, and both Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer, held just 52 Redwing, 14 Fieldfare, 29 Common Starling and a male Common Kestrel.


Highlight here was the continuing first-winter drake GREATER SCAUP, showing well just to the west of the island - and still quite brown on the flanks but now boasting a complete bright green head.

A good selection of wildfowl included 2 adult Mute Swans (plus a dead first-winter), 74 Wigeon, 11 Teal, 52 Gadwall, 8 Shoveler, 51 Tufted Duck, 62 Pochard and 4 Common Goldeneye (1 drake).


In the tall trees bordering the east side of the A1 at Tempsford, 18 Rook nests were being attended to in the rookery.


Again, no sign of the two Egyptian Geese but 6 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Mute Swans (2 first-winters), 106 Greylag Geese, 92 Wigeon, 68 Gadwall and a pair of Common Goldeneye. On Tempsford Lake immediately south (at SP 158 634), 4 GOOSANDER were showing well, including 2 adult drakes. A Green Woodpecker fed on the grass verge as I departed.


I decided to check the non-naturalised flock of BARNACLE GEESE at Willington, of which there were 337 of them and 2 Greylag Geese feeding on beet in the sheep field. Some 33 individuals bore red plastic rings with white letters, including inscriptions BA, LC, IP, BS, DP, IC, FS, CI, II, LS, AC, AL, FA, AH, CA, BD, NU, DU, ZI and EV.


All 27 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS were still feeding voraciously on the pit, dredging weed up from the bottom, including 18 adult drakes.


A late afternoon visit at 1613 hours revealed the presence of 1 adult Mute Swan and 12 LITTLE EGRETS standing on the east wooded shore pre-roost.


At dusk/dark at 1647 hours, a total of 8 LITTLE EGRETS was roosting on the south island, along with 4 Grey Herons (including a pair busily repairing a nest). The lake also held 8 adult Mute Swans

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