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.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

TWITE will still have to wait for another day but BARN OWL was a pleasure

Finally, a Herts BARN OWL - my first of the year in that county (Steve Arlow)

The three EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTS at Broughton today (Dave Bilcock)


No change in the general weather, with continuing cold temperatures (4.5 degrees C). It was a clear bright day, with long periods of uninterrupted blue sky, but as darkness loomed, heavy snow started to affect the Chilterns, and by the time I got home in Little Chalfont, had settled considerably.

Although the day was spent relatively local, some main target species were once again missed, in particular the three long-staying Twites in Cambs, and Lesser Redpoll.

Sadly, in Buckinghamshire, single dead BADGERS were noted at Great Missenden (on the A 413 again, westbound, at SP 892 020) and another just NE of 'A World of Old' on the A418 just SW of Wing at SP 877 218.


Thanks to Dave Bilcock, I was made alert this morning of 3 'White-fronted Geese' at Broughton, just east of Aylesbury. It transpired that they had been found yesterday by a local birder, but when talking to local walkers, it seems they have been present since Valentine's Day.

Anyway, acting immediately upon David's news, I drove straight over, and found all three birds (the two adult and single first-winter EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GEESE that I had seen at Wilstone Reservoir on 12 February) showing very well in the grassy meadow being grazed by horses north of the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal 75 yards east of canal Bridge 13 at SU 854 143. They were consorting with 30 Atlantic Canada Geese and were affording views down to 55 yards - both Dave Bilcock and Ben Miller obtaining some excellent photographic results (see images above. Park by the main bridge and walk just 330 yards east to view.

A first-winter Mute Swan was begging for food by the main bridge after parts of the canal had frozen over, whilst just two COMMON SNIPE were located in the frozen rushes area. A RED KITE was circling overhead.


Following up a report of 3 large owls on farmland to the north of Hulcott, I surprised and flushed a drake Common Teal from the Thistle Brook. Due to deep water, I could not reach the thicket where the owls were roosting and failed to locate them (I shall return when the water has receded).


After hearing that Jamie Wells had relocated the 3 Twites at Diddington, I decided to give these birds another go, even though I had little hope of connecting. My suspicions were confirmed when I met Jamie just finishing his morning rounds, as he had only seen the birds briefly at 1010 hours, when the trio perched in a Willow for a short time. I grilled Jamie on their exact whereabouts over the past month or so and had an exhaustive search of the area but reaping little other than a charm of 9 Goldfinches and 15 Linnets. The area is so huge, habitat favourable for so many acres and birds so mobile, that it really is a thankless task and sheer pot luck if you connect.

I spent about 90 minutes in the area, walking the entire Diddington Pit and checking Pumphouse Pit from the SW corner. I saw very much the same as Jamie, including the winter-plumaged BLACK-NECKED GREBE at the extreme north end of Pumphouse, at least 3 Common Shelducks, numerous Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Pochard (with a few Shoveler), 12 Common Goldeneye, 7 redhead SMEWS on Pumphouse (all in a tight feeding flock), a female RUDDY DUCK, several Common Buzzards, 2 Common Kestrels, my first migrant OYSTERCATCHER of the year, a GREEN SANDPIPER, several Meadow Pipits and 3 Greenfinches.


Had a scout around for the 1-2 Egyptian Geese often seen in the area but failed to locate them - a pair of GOOSANDER were still present on the pit just north of the River Great Ouse.


Taking up Steve Blake's very helpful advice, I tried again to locate Lesser Redpoll. Steve had seen four birds in the week, feeding with Siskins along the River Colne between the two bridges. Afternoons are not the best times to look for such species, particularly when there are dogwalkers everywhere, and it came as no surprise that I failed to locate the flock anywhere in the Alders.

What I did see were Great Spotted Woodpecker, Moorhen, 13 Goldfinch, 12 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing and 2 Song Thrushes. I shall have to return another day.


Two RED KITES were sat on a perch overlooking the three European Bisons and their shelter at Bison Hill - presumably hoping to share some food (quite what I really don't know).

Nearby at Dagnall, the resident pair of COMMON RAVENS were well underway with domestics. As I arrived, both birds were walking about on the ground gathering beakfuls of clumps of grass. I followed them as they flew and they landed in one of the pines. In the 'scope, I enjoyed great views as, first the male dropped his grass on top of the pile of sticks and then the female. The male then flew off, cronking once quite quietly. The female then sat and shuffled around on the nest for some minutes, gradually moulding the nest into a cup shape. I felt quite embarrassed watching this intimate behaviour from afar but it was quite enlightening being allowed to share the social delights of Raven nesting behaviour.


Arrived rather late and only really concentrated on the gull roost.

I was surprised to find 3 Grey Herons already nest-occupying on the central Drayton Bank, a single LITTLE EGRET was roosting there, and 2 adult Mute Swans had returned.

Wildfowl included 575 Eurasian Wigeon, a pair of Gadwall, 18 Shoveler, 27 Northern Pochard and a whopping 228 Tufted Ducks, along with 4 COMMON GOLDENEYES (including 2 adult drakes) and 18 Great Crested Grebes.

The regular adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL was part of the well-strung out roost tonight, with 2,646 Black-headed Gulls roosting by 1710, along with 82 Common Gulls. A juvenile British Herring Gull also put in an appearance.


Delightfully, 83 CORN BUNTINGS flighted in to roost not far out from the causeway at Marsworth Reedbed at 1715 hours - my largest count at the site this winter.

A single CETTI'S WARBLER was singing, as well as a solitary male Song Thrush, with 8 Shoveler, 7 Common Teal and 6 Gadwall on the Sewage Farm.

Thanks to Steve Rodwell, I was finally able to add a new species to my Hertfordshire Year List today - a gorgeous BARN OWL performing eloquently at the back of the sewage farm from 1720 hours onwards. Steve had seen the bird last night and just as he had predicted, it appeared 20 minutes before it got pitch black and too dark to see. After it appeared from its roost-site, it hunted over the rough field for a short time before alighting on the sewage farm perimeter fence, where I was able to enjoy some outstanding views of this most charming of British birds. What a delight.

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