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.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

TAIGA BEAN GEESE in BEDFORDSHIRE - a new county tick


Following the recent wintry weather, today was glorious - with fairly light winds, all-day sunshine and clear blue skies and temperatures nudging 9 degrees C for the first time this year.

Late in the morning, I was alerted to the presence of a small party of 'Bean Geese' in North Bedfordshire (Richard Bashford had discovered them during work on the second anniversary of the Great Beds Duck Count). I took an interest in them immediately, not least because I had not seen either species this year, and when MJP phoned to say that they were in fact 'TAIGA BEAN GEESE' then my adrenalin started pumping.

Frustrated by an accident on the northbound M1 adjacent to Toddington Services, I had to divert through Luton and the A6, which of course took an age..


As I was driving right past Elstow Pit on the new bypass, I quickly stopped off there and scanned from the access road. My first Beds SMEW of the year - a gorgeous adult drake - was keeping to the northern edge of the pit, whilst RED-CRESTED POCHARDS numbered 27 and Northern Pochard an impressive 180.

(1145 hours onwards)

I arrived to find Roy Nye and Tim Robson on site, scanning from the sheep field adjacent to the A6 just north of the Pumping Station. After an anxious few minutes, I quickly located the three birds, sat sleeping on the grass field to the west of the pit complex in amongst the 278-strong Greylag Goose flock. I beckoned the other two over and quickly got them on to the birds and after a short while, we were lucky that they started to feed once more. Even more fortuitous was the fact that the single adult PINK-FOOTED GOOSE was also with them, allowing us a unique opportunity to compare the two species.

What was immediately striking was the sheer bulk and size of the three TAIGA BEAN GEESE - much larger, more powerful and longer-necked that the Pinkfoot and approaching Greylag in size (Tundra Bean is a shorter-necked and overall smaller bird). Furthermore, what was presumably the gander (the larger bird) had a long, sloping bill, which was virtually entirely deep orange. The other two equally shared the bill shape and structure but had less orange and a whitish rim at the base - a further feature I have often noted on Clyde and Yare Valley Taigas. The garishness of the bill colour was matched by that of the colour of the legs and feet and on many occasions when they were hunkered down in the Greylag flock, the deep orange legs were the best way of picking them out.

Compared to Western Greylag Goose (anser), the three Taiga Beans were very dark-necked, and longer and slimmer-necked, and browner in tone, particularly on the sides and flanks. They had conspicuous white fringes to the flight feathers and paler barring to the mantle and also shared the glaring white vent and undertail-coverts of all of the larger grey geese.

Richard Bashford managed to obtain at least one good image (see that published above) and the occurrence represented my 254th Bedfordshire species and my 127th species of 2010. The only previous Taiga Bean Geese recorded in Bedfordshire were a party of 6 flying over Brogborough Lake on 12 January 1985, although there is an earlier record from the Ouse Valley which I cannot find details of.

The Greylag flock also harboured 3 DARK-BELLIED BRENT GEESE - another scarce species in the county, whilst the Mute Swan herd numbered 55 and other wildfowl included 96 Eurasian Wigeon and 23 Tufted Ducks. At least 109 Lapwing were in the fields.

A party of 8 Yellowhammers was feeding in the sheep field.


I took advantage of my trip to North Bedfordshire by visiting Grafham Water in neighbouring Cambridgeshire, just 17 miles away. The number of diving duck on their quite spectacular, presumably displaced by the recent freeze.

Pride of place went to two juvenile drake VELVET SCOTERS - sleeping together at the edge of an Aythya flock present off of the south end of the dam. One bird was slightly better marked than the other (the recent new arrival as one drake has been present for over a month). It was another new species for the year (128).

In the dam area alone there were 498 Tufted Duck, 169 Great Crested Grebes, 5 Little Grebe, numerous Gadwall and Pochard and a lone RUDDY DUCK.

Moving off to Mander Car Park and joining Richard Webb, I could not locate the Slavonian Grebe, two Greater Scaup and 3 Common Scoters seen earlier by local watchers. Three juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS were offshore (a fourth had earlier been seen off the dam by RW) and showing reasonably well, along with 7 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS, 4 GOOSANDER (2 pairs, the drakes in active display) and an excellent number of RUDDY DUCKS. Common Goldeneye numbered at least 30, whilst Tufted Duck and Northern Pochard both exceeded 1,500 in the bays on view at the west end. A single Common Redshank was feeding along the shoreline west of the Yacht club.


Ice-free, with a pair of RED-CRESTED POCHARD in the NE corner and 3 Great Crested Grebes, 10 Mute Swans, 11 Atlantic Canada Geese, 5 Greylag Geese, 32 Gadwall and 68 Eurasian Wigeon counted.


On the shallow G & M Growers Pit, I was delighted to find 2 JACK SNIPES, a Common Snipe and a covey of 8 GREY PARTRIDGES. A charm of 86 Goldfinches was feeding on weeds in the field just east of the farm.


A total of 274 Tufted Duck, 52 Northern Pochard, 18 Gadwall and 42 Mallard, along with a rather mobile and wary flock of 18 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS. In terms of the latter, I recorded 47 (27 + 2 + 18) today, by far the largest number I have ever seen in the county on one day. These birds were frozen out of Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire, where over 350 'non-naturalised' birds now survive.

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