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, 17 February 2010

My first venture into Norfolk this year yields EIGHT new species


A band of very heavy rain and sleet traversed the southern half of the country and for the best part of the day kept its northern border just south of Norwich across to Waxham. It remained very cold throughout, with temperatures hovering around 4 degrees C and very little brightness was seen, apart from at dusk at Holkham.

Reaching Week 7 of 2010, I had finally got round to visiting East Anglia, and had a list of specific birds I wanted to target, including Golden Pheasant, Willow Tit, Hawfinch, Twite, Short-eared Owl, Rough-legged Buzzard, Snow Bunting, Shore Lark, Greater Snow Goose, Bohemian Waxwing, Red-necked Grebe, Kittiwake, Dartford Warbler, Bearded Tit, Black Redstart and Mealy Redpoll. Of these 16 species, I was eventually able to connect with 7, so a reasonably successful mission. Weather played a major part in the failure to locate some species.

Alan Stewart and I departed Chorleywood at 0530 hours and reached Suffolk Breckland at 0700 hours


At a traditional site, I was very pleased to find 10 GOLDEN PHEASANTS surviving, all of the adult males still being completely 'pure'. A flock of 9 birds (7 adult drakes and two females) was found, along with an additional adult male which was unusually seen in flight. The birds were typically elusive, shy and retiring, and ran at great speed away when startled. It was my 171st species of the year.

The mixed woodland also yielded 3 Red Deer stags, several Brown Hares, numerous Muntjac and 40+ Rabbits, along with 15 Common Pheasants, Jay, LESSER REDPOLL, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, MARSH TIT (3), Long-tailed Tit and Great Tit.


At another traditional site, I was equally delighted to find the continued presence of WILLOW TITS, especially considering the stark decline this species is going through in Britain. No less than four birds (two pairs) was located, consorting with a large flock of other tit species. One male was in full song. The birds afforded excellent views, allowing the salient characteristics such as the bull-necked appearance, rich orange-buff flanks and sides and striking pale 'wing panel' to be noted, as well as the all-dark bill. The frequently heard call was a very nasal sound, repeated several times (172).

It was nice to compare the Willow Tits with a MARSH TIT seen in its usual location close to the bridge, this bird announcing itself with the loud, sneezing 'pitchou' notes familiar with this species. The pale cutting edge to the bill was also diagnostic but rather difficult to see as it flitted from branch-to-branch.

Again, 3 Red Deer were seen, along with GREY WAGTAIL, Carrion Crow, Great Spotted Woodpecker (2), Green Woodpecker, Common Treecreeper (3), Jay, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit and 2 GOLDCRESTS.


On to Lynford where we were rewarded with fabulous views of an immature NORTHERN GOSHAWK that we fortuitously chanced upon. The bird appeared from the direction of the pits, flew low along the line of the trees and was pursued by two Carrion Crows. It landed in a tall Larch tree and sat there, constantly being mobbed by corvids, for about ten minutes before sloping off low over the trees eastwards (173).

In the Arboretum itself, the first of five HAWFINCHES was located - a beautiful male - feeding on buds at the top of a fruiting tree. It sat there in full 'scope view for about 15 minutes before being overflown by four others, all 5 then disappearing into the main area of woodland (174). At least 6 COMMON CROSSBILLS were in the firs, along with a flock of 50 SISKIN, whilst the paddock area produced Chaffinch, 52 Redwing, Green Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Goldfinch, Stock Dove and a single Roe Deer.

(1015-1100 hours)

Alan and I walked the entire southern perimeter of the Wherryman's Way and were extremely pleased with our results - Red-necked Grebe being my first of the year (175).

Great Crested Grebe (17)
RED-NECKED GREBE (superb views were obtained of a first-winter at the western end of the broad, visible from the second car park)
Continental Cormorants (66)
Grey Heron (1)
Mute Swans (22)
Egyptian Geese (8)
Mallard, Common Teal (3), Gadwall, Tufted Duck (221) and Northern Pochard
*RING-NECKED DUCK (the adult female was showing well, loosely associating with a group of Northern Pochard, about half way down the broad)
GREATER SCAUP (immature drake with Tufted Ducks)
SMEW (2 redheads showing well)
GOOSANDERS (7 noted, including 4 adult drakes, a first-winter drake and two redheads)
RUDDY DUCK (1 female)


After a lengthy search of the estate, I was just chatting to one of my long-standing birding companions Baz Harding when a flock of 18 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS suddenly alighted in a tall tree adjacent to the drive at 1155. The birds afforded exceptional views as they waited in turn to feed on the berry-bearing shrubs bordering the road, were all unringed and were part of a late arrival from Scandinavia, the prolonged heavy snow and the exhaustion of their food crop forcing them to move further west. They were a very welcolm addition to the Year List, particularly considering their scarcity all winter (176). It was at this point that the heavier rain caught up with us, curtailing our birding somewhat.


A MARSH HARRIER flew across the A146 at 1218 at Hales, near Loddon. Despite the conditions, we were very lucky in that the wintering juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD was showing very well from the first pull-in as you drive towards Yarmouth, perched on top of the gate (177). Excellent views were obtained in the 'scope, the bird just sitting there unconcerned by the rain (until 1230 hours at least).

There were also large numbers of Pink-footed Geese grazing on the fields, and several more Egyptian Geese.


The rain got heavier and heavier here and really dampened our spirits. Despite the shelter of the trees at the 'mound', no self-respecting Short-eared Owl was going to fly in these conditions and after half an hour of scanning, we decided to give up. Neither of the two wintering Rough-legged Buzzards was on view, Marsh Harrier and 3 Egyptian Geese being the only birds of note.


Just north of the Sealife Centre, the sandy beaches were dominated by roosting MEDITERRANEAN GULLS - 62 at least, including many multi colour-ringed individuals.


Our next dip of the day was Common Crane, with not one to be found in any of their traditional areas. Where have they gone? Scanning from West Somerton over Heigham Holmes produced 44 Red-legged Partridges, whilst the road north to the windmill yielded 500+ European Golden Plovers, a single RUFF, a single Dunlin, 1,000+ Lapwings, 76 Greylag Geese and another MARSH HARRIER.

A BARN OWL was a pleasant surprise, hunting by day (1420) at the entrance to the Waxham Sands Holiday Camp, with another just 14 minutes later, perched on a post just north of Hickling village.

Driving down to Eastfield Farm produced a further MARSH HARRIER.


Where Stalham Road meets Hall Road, north of Hickling village, a herd of 60 wild swans was feeding in a roadside field including 51 BEWICK'S SWANS and 9 WHOOPER SWANS (including a family party of 6 birds, with four first-winters).


Finally escaping the heavy rain, we pitched up at West Runton beach car park. Walking east to the highest point just west of the holiday village some 600 yards, there was no sign whatsoever of the Black Redstart seen recently. The farmer was busily ploughing the coastal fields enticing flocks of both 65 Linnet and 70 Eurasian Skylark to feed, as well as 4 Pied Wagtails.

Most unusual was a very confiding partially summer-hooded adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL in the main car park, showing down to just yards as it sat on a post.


Outstanding views were obtained of 6 SNOW BUNTINGS feeding in and around the shingle beach car park, my first of the year (178); 8 Turnstones were also feeding at point-blank range.


A large flock of 600 Dark-bellied Brent Geese was feeding in fields immediately west of the pitch & putt course, whilst 4 GREATER SCAUP (two adult drakes, a first-winter drake and an adult female) were showing very well on the lake.


With just twenty minutes of birdable light left of the day, we ventured out from Holkham Gap eastwards, in the vain hope of locating the 17 Shore Larks that are wintering there. Despite marching out for over a mile and widely sweeping the area, they were not to be found, and our efforts were rewarded with just 3 Skylark, 18 Meadow Pipits and a noisy flock of creek-feeding Common Redshanks.

A further BARN OWL was hunting Lady Anne's Drive towards dusk, with a single WOODCOCK appearing as light started to fade. A TAWNY OWL hooted from the pines, whilst just 300 Pink-footed Geese flew in to join the 300 or so Eurasian Wigeon just east of the drive.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lee,

    Looks like you had a great day out in East Anglia with some great birds seen. Although your report of the Ruddy Duck suprised me after not so long ago you were urging the non-reporting of such birds, im sure your more clued up on the situation here but it would be a shame if Defra tried to shoot this bird.