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.

Monday, 8 March 2010

February 2010 comes to an end and I fall seven species short of my target

This LITTLE BUNTING at Sconner was one of my main target birds and it certainly did not disappoint. It performed for almost half an hour, perched out in full view and in perfect light. Phil Stidwill obtained these excellent images of the bird.

The two wintering CATTLE EGRETS at Sennen (Steve Rogers)

The very confiding adult WHOOPER SWAN at Drift Reservoir - fabulously captured on film by Steve Rogers


The last day of February. Alan Stewart and I decided to spend a couple of days in the West Country with me concentrating on a number of target birds, many rarities of which had been present since the turn of the year. I had 17 birds in total that I was after and after two whole days dawn to dusk birding, succeeded in locating 12 of them.

We departed Little Chalfont at midnight and arrived at our first port of call - Sennen in West Cornwall - at 0700 hours.

Whilst much of Britain was affected by a deep depression arriving from the south, bringing gale-force winds and heavy rain, Cornwall escaped relatively unscathed but did have very cold and strong Northeasterly winds.


Arrived at Brew Farm at 0700 hours but was disappointed to find that the cow herd was no longer being grazed and all were confined to the sheds. Consequently, there was no sign of the long-staying Cattle Egrets. Searched other likely haunts, but apart from one small herd of cows, the fields were devoid of life.

We moved on to a very windswept Sennen Cove, where both drake Long-tailed Duck and juvenile Iceland Gull were nowhere to be found. Large numbers of Herring Gulls (particularly first-winters) were roosting on the Cowloe Rocks, as well as a few Great Black-backed Gulls, whilst the bay itself harboured 35+ (Black-legged) Kittiwakes (my first of the year - species 188), 40+ Northern Gannets and 5 Northern Fulmars. There were also several European Shags in the bay.

We then returned to Brew Farm and searched the area again. A large mixed flock of Fieldfare and Redwing was found, a flock of 4-500 Starlings, whilst 8 European Golden Plovers, 5 Common Snipe and a PEREGRINE flew over. Still no Cattle Egrets...


Again, freezing cold and a biting NE wind. Viewing from the car park, the long-staying adult WHOOPER SWAN could be easily seen (see Steve Rogers' excellent images below), as well as 34 Mute Swans, 2 Great Crested Grebes and a Little Grebe. The Barnacle Geese had departed and we failed to find the wintering Black-necked Grebe.


Met John Ryan for the first time this year but failed to locate the other juvenile Iceland Gull currently present in West Cornwall. Several Shags in the area.


Decided to give Sennen just one more search and thankfully we did. Penrose Farm had ushered their cows out into the fields and there with them were the two wintering CATTLE EGRETS (189). One bird had a hint of buff on the crown. Steve Rogers managed these fine shots when both birds were wintering at Brew Farm.


Checked Newlyn Harbour again, as well as the island off Mousehole, but still no Iceland Gull. The bay held numerous Shags, Common Guillemots and 4 Razorbills, with Rock Pipit and Grey Wagtail also being seen.

At the Tolcarne Beach and inlet, an adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL was seen.


Within a short spell of time, I quickly located up to 5 wintering BLACKCAPS in the shrubs (my first of the year - 190), as well as 2 COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS. Other species noted included Common Blackbird, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Robin and Blue Tit.


Marazion Marsh RSPB proved futile, with no sign of any of the wintering Bitterns nor Water Pipit, whilst in neighbouring Little London Bay to the east, 6 BLACK-THROATED DIVERS and single GREAT NORTHERN and RED-THROATED DIVERS were encountered.


In a brief search, no Dippers were located on the river. Siskin, Coal Tit and Nuthatch were all noted.


Arriving within 15 minutes of a pager message, we were somewhat bemused and surprised to find nobody present at the cattle grid overlooking the Loveney Nature Reserve at the far north end of the lake. Apparently, the drake North American Black Duck had been seen from here, but despite trudging all round the reserve and 'scoping the entire area for over two hours, there was no sign of it. The Mallard population totalled 15 birds, mostly drakes.

We did see the drake LESSER SCAUP however - consorting with Tufted Ducks mainly along the western shore of the arm. Although diving for most of the time, it did stay up long enough on occasions for good 'scope views to be afforded (191). The bay also held 2 Little Grebes, 3 drake Shovelers, a female Pochard, 15 Common Teal and 12 Tufted Ducks, whilst a JACK SNIPE was flushed from the sedgebeds on the East shore. Excellent views were obtained of several COMMON RAVENS and Common Buzzards were also fairly commonplace.

Neighbouring Dozmary Pool held a further 15 Tufted Ducks.

Driving south towards Liskeard, we searched the river for Dipper but failed to locate any.


A flock of at least 200 Chaffinches feeding in a ploughed field south of the B3249 250 yards east of the Kernow Mill roundabout included 5 BRAMBLINGS.


Parking opposite Sconner Farm on the north side of the B3249, we followed the footpath diagonally across the stubble field to the narrow strip of setaside bordering the strip of trees.

Five EURASIAN SPOONBILLS (two adults and three immatures) were roosting on the Lynher (192) (along with several Eurasian Curlews and 30 Wigeon) whilst the setaside strip yielded Chaffinch and Reed Bunting. After a wait of 25 minutes, the wintering LITTLE BUNTING flew up from the field and landed in one of the adjacent trees. It was calling frequently (a hard 'tickk') and sat preening in full view for nearly half an hour. The views were excellent, the bird 'filling' my entire 'scope view. Intermittently, it uttered a short, quiet sub-song.

Steve Votier had impressively located this bird earlier in the month and it had remained faithful to this one small area. Steve had been particularly helpful in providing me with detailed instructions on how to locate the bird and his strategy was spot on. The bird appeared to have a rounded shape to the lower mandible and was a bright individual, with chestnut coronial stripe and rusty ear-coverts. Phil Stidwill obtained the excellent images above. Species 193 for the year and only my third in Cornwall.


A Little Egret was noted in one of the tributaries running down into the River Lynher whilst offshore of Marina Drive at high tide, the 7 PALE-BELLIED BRENT GEESE were showing well. A second-winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL was with Black-headed Gulls there but there was no sign of the adult Ring-billed Gull or wintering Whimbrel.


We decided to spend the remainder of the daylight hours on Bodmin Moor searching extensively for the Colliford Lake Black Duck. ALL of the Mallards appeared from cover at dusk (15 birds) but there was no sign whatsoever of the reported Black Duck - I simply do not believe that it was present today.

A Great Crested Grebe was a new addition and the drake LESSER SCAUP had moved much closer to the road. Darkness fell at 1830 hours.

So that was it - February 2010 finished on 193 species, 7 short of my target.

Temperatures plunged severely as darkness fell, reaching minus 2 degrees C as we drove east towards Devon. We finally ended up in Buckfastleigh village, where we slept overnight in the car.

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