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, 21 February 2010

No Tree Sparrows but a bonus CASPIAN GULL, some nice Wild Geese and a PEREGRINE

Inset Images: Steve Blain's CASPIAN GULL and Richard Bashford's PINK-FOOTED GEESE


The snow that fell overnight was followed by a light frost, making driving conditions hazardous first thing. Temperatures slowly increased during the day and by late afternoon had risen to 6 degrees C. It remained dry throughout, with some long clear periods. The wind was very light.

Much of my day was spent birding in Bedfordshire, where I concentrated on a number of target species. Apart from disappointment with Tree Sparrow, it was a very rewarding day.


My only foray into Hertfordshire today was first thing when I retraced my steps at Colney Heath. This time things went to plan, but most likely because I got the timing of my visit right.

In rather gloomy, grey conditions, a single LITTLE EGRET heavily contrasted, roosting at the side of the River Colne just upstream from the bridge.

The large SISKIN flock was quickly located and although highly mobile, were eventually pinned down in the long line of Alder trees running south from the bridge on Coursers Road. The flock consisted of a total of 76 birds, with just 2 LESSER REDPOLL amongst them. The latter represented my first in the county this year (111).


Fortuitously, driving north up the M1 close to the Brogborough turning, Steve Blain relocated the second-winter CASPIAN GULL that had been roosting intermittently at Stewartby Lake. I quickly contacted him, and he very kindly kept on it before I arrived.

Just pipping WeBS counter Bob Hook to the site, I was delighted to find the bird still present on the Millbrook Pillinge Pit at midday. It was showing very well and was a striking bird. Steve was busy making the most of it and taking image after image. It was craftily waiting for Tufted Ducks to emerge after diving with beakfuls of weed and was then 'stealing' it from them and eating it - the first time I had ever seen such piratical behaviour in this manner.

Once I realised that the bird was 'settled', I got much closer, and was eventually able to obtain views at just 80 yards. There was only one area of the pit that was ice-free and this was where all of the wildfowl and other species were congregating. The Caspian Gull was a large bird with a brutish appearance and a long neck and a long, sloping forehead. The bill was thick and clumsy looking, black and bitty at the base and pink towards the tip. The head was completely clean white, with strong brown streaking on the hindneck and a contrastingly apparent dark eye (surrounded by dark smudging). The mantle was solid pale grey, with grey of the same tone also on the median coverts, whilst much of the wing coverts were brown and cream, strongly barred on the flight feathers and predominantly dark brown with isolated internal markings on the tertials. The long primaries were very dark brown. The legs were pale pink. In fact, it was a classic individual, and Steve did excellently in locating it. It was my first in Bedfordshire this year and a bonus considering the poor roost at Stewartby this winter.

The other big bonus at the Pillinge Pit was the presence of at least two very vocal CETTI'S WARBLERS - thankfully both surviving the long cold spell and proving just how hardy these Mediterranean ditch-dwellers are.

At least 112 Tufted Ducks were on the Pillinge but I left Bob to count the other wildfowl present.


Following up on Nigel's discovery of yesterday, Jim Gurney and I spent several hours searching in vain for the Tree Sparrows. I walked miles of farmland but they were just nowhere to be found. I located a very nice area of game crop but this harboured just 2 Yellowhammers and 12 Chaffinches. House Sparrows were fairly abundant in the area, with at least 35 noted, and Red-legged Partridge was commonplace, A single Eurasian Sparrowhawk was the only other species of note.

Bob and Lol visited later and they too drew a blank.


Retracing Richard Bashford's footsteps of earlier, the flock of 290+ Greylag Geese feeding to the west of the southernmost pits in the complex (and viewable from the Sewage Works compound adjacent to the A6) continued to contain the 2 PINK-FOOTED GEESE, two adult EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GEESE and a single BARNACLE GOOSE.


At long, long last, I finally connected with EGYPTIAN GOOSE - just the adult male begging for food in the SW corner closest to the restaurant and Information Centre (the female was nowhere to be seen, although RB had seen both birds on the main island earlier). Suspect origin or what!

The main lake also yielded 9 Great Crested Grebes, 12 Mute Swans (including four first-winters), 193 Wigeon, 45 Common Teal, 92 Tufted Duck, 24 Northern Pochard and 4 Common Goldeneye (2 adult drakes).

Nearby, west of the bridge, a single Greylag Goose was with 114 Atlantic Canada Geese.


At 1549 hours, the male PEREGRINE was sat on a lamp standard within the Stewartby Brick Company complex - a belated first for the year for me Beds-wise.


(1600-1624) No sign of any Woodcock, Lesser Redpoll or Siskin, but 7 GOOSANDER showing very well on the part-frozen lake (3 adult drakes) and a Common Treecreeper in the Alders.


The RING-NECKED PARAKEET of somewhat dubious origin flew in to roost at its favourite tree hole at 1645 hours.


Despite visiting the lake at dusk, not one Mandarin Duck was to be found.

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