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.

Friday, 19 February 2010

HAWFINCH delight


Although still very cold (5-6 degrees C throughout the day), it was a much brighter than of late, with long clear periods and some pleasant sunshine. It was also very calm. I decided to make the most of the conditions and did some local 'target birding', concentrating on some species I was missing from both my Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Year Lists. It was partly successful. Bird of the day was undoubtedly HAWFINCH.


My main target bird here was Marsh Tit but despite searching from 1100-1330 hours and walking acres of forest. I just could not locate one bird or territorial pair. I played the calls of male Marsh Tit in many different suitable areas, including those very kindly recommended by local observers, but failed.

I had concentrated my efforts on Danemead Nature Reserve, where I had seen 6 Marsh Tits on some occasions in previous years, and was absolutely delighted to find at least two very vocal male HAWFINCHES in this area. The birds were feeding on the ground between the sheep field of Danemead Reserve and the main muddy footpath that leads down from the Ermine Street (Martin's Green) Car Park and as I walked past them, they flew up into the vegetation and called loudly. The sharp 'ticc' enabled me to locate them, allowing me to enjoy some superb views. The vegetation and branch makeup in this area was very dense and it is possible, certainly from the calling, that more birds were involved. Certainly, two bright males were sat close together. They sat calling for about five minutes and then, after several Chaffinches returned to the ground, they did the same.

To reach this area, one needs to park on Cock Lane in the car park aforementioned. Follow the muddy bridlepath NW and as it inclines after 150 yards, the reserve entrance and information boards appear on the left. Between here and the large blue plastic barrel, to the left of the track, are where the Hawfinches are.

Whilst not locating either Marsh Tit or Lesser Redpoll, the following species were encountered: Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker (2), Nuthatch (3), Great Tit (11), Blue Tit (16), Long-tailed Tit (9), Chaffinch (15) and SISKIN (4).


A LITTLE EGRET was feeding in the River Beane


Just 2 LONG-EARED OWLS remained in their favourite roost-site and alarmingly, on my arrival, both birds were purposefully flushed by some moronic local observer. I gave him a piece of my mind, but he walked away unconcerned. Just one very good reason why Long-eared Owl roosts like this MUST be suppressed at all costs. All five birds can all be seen safely and clearly in a 'scope from the bank above, so there is absolutely no need to flush them. Long-eared Owls love sunshine, so it was really a great shame that their roost-site was upset in a way like this. Once I had seen the two birds fly out of the ivy, I had a look under the tree, and there were at least 50 pellets. I wonder if anybody can make a use of them?

I also recorded 2 GREY PARTRIDGES and a RED KITE at the owl site.


In an extensive sweep of the area, there was no sign of the Water Pipit seen recently, nor of any Peregrines nearby or in Bedford Town Centre.


No sign of the Pintails - just 2 Little Grebes, a pair of Mute Swans and 22 Mallard.

(1630-1715 hours)

The juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER was showing well, two-thirds of the way up towards the Sailing Club, with 16 Great Crested Grebes, 113 Tufted Duck and 25 Common Goldeneye noted.

A total of 2,523 gulls roosted by 1715, including an outstanding 803 COMMON GULLS, 53 Herring Gulls (mostly British), 66 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 1,600 Black-headed Gulls. At 1705 hours, the partial breeding-plumaged MEDITERRANEAN GULL flew in, landing towards the east end of the flock. This was my first in Bedfordshire this year (97).


The ever-faithful LITTLE OWL was showing very well on the barn at 1732 hours (98).


Waited until just after dark but sadly no sign of the resident pair of Barn Owls (they had been showing at 2000 hours last night) nor of any Common Stonechats. The Red Foxes were very rewarding, appearing from their den just before dusk.

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