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.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Mopping up in Norfolk - 7 target birds secured


I decided to follow up last week's visit to Norfolk with another this week, with the aim of 'mopping up' those species I failed to connect with. The target species were Greater Snow Goose, Twite, Mealy Redpoll, Shore Lark, Black Redstart, Bearded Tit and Short-eared Owl and I am pleased to say that I was successful on all seven counts.

In stark contrast to recent weeks, the temperature climbed to a heady 9 degrees C, equalling the highest temperatures attained thus far in 2010. The reason for this was a warm front coming up from the Azores, bringing strengthening southerly winds. Although grey and overcast, the rain did not finally reach North Norfolk until mid afternoon, which gave us many hours of good birding conditions.

Alan Stewart drove, and Joan Thompson joined us, Chorleywood being departed at 0600 hours. First destination was Hunstanton Cliffs......


Oystercatchers, Eurasian Curlews, Magpies and a single Red-legged Partridge were on the adjoining golf course, whilst offshore, some 45 FULMARS were sat on the sea, and a raft of 300 COMMON SCOTER were distant. A single female Common Goldeneye was on the sea, whilst waders on the beach included Dunlin, Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit. Four Common Shelduck flew into the Wash.


The adult white morph GREATER SNOW GOOSE was feeding with 328+ Pink-footed Geese in grassy fields south of Holme Braodwater and could be easily 'scoped from the gate above the concrete slipway at Thornham Harbour. There was also a single leucistic Pink-footed Goose with the flock, and at one point, a walker flushed all of the flock allowing us to see the Snow Goose in flight. It represented my 181st species of the year and was a bird that had first arrived in Norfolk in November of last year.

BARN OWLS were the other talking point and from 0900-1000 hours, at least four individuals were hunting over the ditches and dykes to the west of the harbour. Whether or not they were day-hunting through lack of food was unknown but the lack of diurnal raptors such as Common Buzzard may paly its part. Some superb views were obtained.

One very confiding (and presumed lame or sick) Dark-bellied Brent Goose was present at the Staithe (add in Alan's photographs), along with 15 Common Teal, 35 Common Redshanks and a single Common Snipe. Two GREY PARTRIDGE showed briefly in the stubble, whilst in and around the barn and creek, 5 SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPIT were showing well, with a Meadow Pipit in with them for comparison (both species with pale legs).

There was no sign of any Twite but 9 Linnets commuted between the saltmarsh and the stubble, and 3 Reed Buntings were noted.

(1010-1230 hours)

Failing to locate either the Woodcock or Mealy Redpoll first time around, the Alders and feeders close to the Information Centre and Cafe yielded 6 Goldfinches, 10 Greenfinches, 12 Chaffinches, numerous Blue and Great Tits, a Song Thrush, a smart male Bullfinch and a very showy WATER RAIL.

The fields west of the main track produced Common Buzzard, Lapwing, 1 RUFF and 200 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, with a single LITTLE EGRET on the saltmarsh a little further on, and both Tufted Duck and Northern Pochard on the main pool.

My second target bird - BEARDED TIT - was located in the reeds just 100 yards north of the centre and just east of the main track, with at least four calling from the reeds but keeping primarily out of view (182).

Although much restoration work was being carried out on the new sea wall, the Freshwater Pool held large numbers of birds, particularly wildfowl and waders -:

Dark-bellied Brent Geese (200)
Common Shelduck (96)
Mallard, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon and NORTHERN PINTAIL (28)
Common Goldeneye (2 females)
Black-tailed Godwit (2)
Common Redshank

Meanwhile, the brackish pools further north revealed 35 more Black-tailed Godwits, 30 Turnstones, 4 more Common Goldeneyes and a tight-knit flock of 10 Little Grebes
Offshore, the calm sea was fairly devoid of variety, although the 2,000-strong COMMON SCOTER raft held at least 7 immature VELVET SCOTERS, although only detectable when the flock were flushed by piratising Herring Gulls. There were a few more Common Goldeneye, whilst waders on the beach included Grey Plover, Sanderling, Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher and 40 Black-tailed Godwits.

Some 65 Red Knot were roosting in the saltmarsh and as a very pale Peregrine whisked by (an escape with jesses), it flushed all of the waders and a small party of finches. As the latter came over the boardwalk, the twittering calls readily identified them as TWITE and as I walked back, I relocated them feeding on the mud of the brackish marsh. The flock consisted of exactly 40 TWITE and 2 Linnets and was a very welcome year-tick, considering how difficult and scarce this species is now (183)

Flushed by our success, we returned to the Alder trees, and in those by the picnic tables between the shop and the car park, this time I located the MEALY REDPOLL almost immediately. The Goldfinch flock had risen to 16 birds and although neck-stretching and rather arduous in its task, excellent views were eventually obtained of the lone flammea. It was a classic individual and one of a very few available this winter in Britain, being very grey in overall tone, rather white in the coverts, pale on the rump, whiter on the flanks and undertail-coverts, feathered on the tarsi and concave-billed (184). Titchwell had been a tremendous success.


A quick stop for Red-breasted Merganser produced just one female, with 7 Common Goldeneye in the channel and our first Ringed Plover of the day.


Yet another day-flying BARN OWL - flying very close and parallel to the A149 just east of the mill. Two Egyptian Geese were in the field, but apart from 700 or so Dark-bellied Brent Geese feeding west of Gun Hill, we failed to locate the Barnacle Geese flock (I learnt later that 19 were being watched from the Joe Jordan Hide - ouch!).


After failing in our quest to locate the wintering flock of SHORE LARKS last week, Alan and I were delighted to succeed this time in our first sweep. The birds were feeding in the Salicornia just east of the sandy cut-through 600 yards east of the Gap and were showing exceptionally well. Other observers had walked right past them as they were so well camouflaged. There were 16 in total - the same number Dave Holman had recorded the day before. All were in winter plumage, with the 'horns' fairly concealed and the lemon in the face still fairly subdued. They allowed very close approach but when two dogs started barking loudly, one bird (presumably the main scout) became alert and took flight, followed closely by the rest of the flock. They wheeled around for ages and it was wonderful listening to their soft, rippling calls as they flew overhead (185).

There was no sign of the reported Lapland Buntings, but 35 Eurasian Skylarks and several Meadow Pipits were in the Salicornia, and yet another BARN OWL was hunting over the dunes. A TAWNY OWL was calling from the Pine wood.


An adult BLACK BRANT and one of the hybrids was amongst 250+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the grass course. Nearby, the four GREATER SCAUPS (an adult drake, first-winter drake and two adult females) were still showing well on the boating lake.


A swirling mass of black, brown and white heralded our arrival in the beach car park at Salthouse - belonging to a 135-strong flock of SNOW BUNTINGS. Some of the adult males were very well-marked and the birds were commuting between the shingle bank, the car park and the grassy fields inland of the car park. Ben Andrew obtained the superb images above.

Some 21 Turnstones were also feeding in the car park.


Some 175 Redwings were present in a grassy field just west of the town.


The adult near-summer plumaged adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL was again showing very well in the car park, often sitting on the post. Its loud calls were very different to those of the Black-headed Gulls it was accompanying.

The first-winter BLACK REDSTART was eventually located on the undercliff about 100 yards east of the slipway. Once found, it afforded excellent views, but viewing was hampered by the heavy rain that then set in. It represented my 186th species of the year.


The lone BOHEMIAN WAXWING was roosting in a large tree overlooking the Sainsbury's car park in North Walsham town, above the workshops of Griffin Automotive.


Fortunately, the rain stopped just as we arrived. Walking out to the mound, hopes were high.

The remaining wintering ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD was roosting on a distant gate post, with a ringtail HEN HARRIER drifting around and at least 4 MARSH HARRIERS traversing back and forth. At long last, I finally connected with SHORT-EARED OWL - 4 birds flying back and forth over the marsh (187), whilst a single BARN OWL was hunting over the far side. The number of birds wintering on Haddiscoe Island, including up to 10 Short-eared Owls in total, have been attracted to the area by the large number of Field Voles.

Three CHINESE WATER DEER appeared on the marsh, with several Egyptian Geese scattered about.

The rain returned towards dusk and a last-ditch attempt to find the Great White Egret and Spoonbill on North Warren RSPB, Aldeburgh, consequently failed. Darkness prevailed at 1750 hours.

Overall, an extremely successful day, with all seven target birds secured

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