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.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Great Crane Chase - Saturday's Highlights

Bird of the day - first-winter BOHEMIAN WAXWING in Finchley, North London - photographed by Jonathan Lethbridge and David Bradnum

With temperatures reaching 11.5 degrees C, Saturday was the warmest day of the year thus far. As a result, the first migrant waders arrived, including Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers and Common Redshanks.

Not long after 0900 hours, Richard Bashford rang to say that he had re-seen the Common Crane that Adam Bassett had found the afternoon before, almost exactly in the same place. It had flown high east of Derek White's Eggs Pit and appeared to come down east of the railway line on Biggleswade Common. Spurned on by Richard's sighting, I made my way straight over, believing that it was possible to relocate the bird.


Knowing that Richard, Steve Blain and other locals were checking the south part of Biggleswade Common, I decided to start from the north and walked down the east side of the River Ivel to Warren Villas. All I saw for my troubles was a single LITTLE EGRET.


After drawing a blank checking the paddocks west and south of Sandy Warren, I went round to Biggleswade and drove north out on Furzenhall Road to the Common. By the farm at TL 195 462, I was very pleased to see a male COMMON STONECHAT - a belated first for the county this year. It was also nice to hear several singing Eurasian Skylarks - all newly returned after the harsh winter.


In fields just to the west of the A1 and north of the Biggleswade-Old Warden road were my first Beds EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER of the year - a flock of 247 with 98 Lapwing. The A1 roundabout trees here also held 11 occupied Rook nests.


No sign of the Common Crane anywhere but the pit itself held 2 Little Grebes, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 2 pairs of COMMON SHELDUCK, several Common Teal and 55 Lapwing.


No sign of yesterday's drake Northern Pintail but 2 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Mute Swans, 38 Eurasian Wigeon, 20 Gadwall, 5 Common Teal, 27 Northern Pochard and 7 Common Goldeneye (3 adult drakes and four females).

Whilst checking Blunham, Richard Bashford 'phoned again to say that a group of 20 people had seen the Common Crane whilst on the cycleway between Blunham and Willington. It had flown west towards Willington.


After receiving Richard's call, I immediately checked the Ouse Valley both sides between Great Barford and Willington, driving a circuit through Chalton, Moggerhanger, Willington, Cuckoo Bridge and Blunham and guess what - nothing ! The Crane was probably long gone.

Willowhill Farm yielded 5 Stock Doves, whilst the Willington sheep fields held 303 non-naturalised BARNACLE GEESE and 44 Greylag Geese. A flock of 45 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVERS was wheeling about the cycleway and 2 male Song Thrushes were in full song in Willington village.


My next obligatory 'dip' was with Lol, Bob and Roy Nye at Octogon Farm, where of course there was no sign of the wintering Water Pipit late morning/early afternoon. A cracking duo of male COMMON STONECHATS was showing well in weeds by the raised bank (presumably migrants) and the sewage works yielded some 55 Pied Wagtails, a single Grey Wagtail and 2 Redwings.


By 1300 hours, I had decided to give up on my luck in Bedfordshire and chose to drive south, where others had continually 'phoned me about a very showy BOHEMIAN WAXWING in Finchley. What was most frustrating however was the fact that two birds were less than five miles from where I was in North Buckinghamshire !

When I arrived in Finchley, Paul Whiteman, David Bradnum, Jonathan Lethbridge and others informed me that the bird had not been seen for almost two hours and had flown off strongly west at 1300 hours. Apparently, it had done this on Friday, so I waited and lo and behold at 1448 hours, it flew into the top of a nearby tree adjacent to the Total garage. It was very nervous and after sallying in the air on numerous occasions, eventually plucked up enough courage to drop down into the lone berry-bearing tree and began feeding. It was a first-winter bird and for quite a while, it afforded some outstanding views (Tony Duckett, Jonathan and David all firing away at it and obtaining some impressive results - see above). It remained in the general area of the Total garage until 1515 hours before flying off strongly once more.

(1620 hours)

A most impressive hide overlooking the small reedbed and marshland reserve on the Mimram valley at TL 264 139, just north of the B1000 between Hertford and Welwyn. Pride of place went to 3 JACK SNIPES which briefly came out to the edges of the central 'dyke' (all simultaneously) and fed for ten minutes out in reasonable view before disappearing back into the reeds.

The small reserve also held 5 Atlantic Canada Geese, 4 Common Teals (3 drakes), a singing male Song Thrush and 3 Reed Buntings (including a singing male).


My fourth JACK SNIPE of the day was a very confiding bird roosting out in the open (and waking very occasionally) by the 'sedge bed' at the confluence of the streams, 50 yards south of the bridge. This has been the best winter I can remember for Jack Snipes in the county and the views really have been outstanding.

The male FIRECREST was still present in the hedgerow and a Grey Wagtail flew over.

Darkness fell at 1755 hours, but Jack Snipe numbers remained at one.

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