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, 27 March 2010

On the trail of the ALPINE SWIFT

Images from today, all taken by Mark Stirland and all at Hunstanton - Turnstones, Common Chiffchaff and of course the stunning ALPINE SWIFT

On The Trail of the Alpine Swift - WEDNESDAY 24 MARCH

The mid theme continued with the southerly winds inducing temperatures of 14 degrees C. After a rather grey start, the skies eventually cleared to give way to a really typical spring day and at Hunstanton in the afternoon, the temperature actually climbed to 17.5 degrees C.

Tuesday 23 March had seen two Alpine Swifts give themselves up in North Norfolk and both had performed until late in the day indicating that they had almost certainly roosted. After still recovering after my London and Berkshire near-misses this year, today I felt was an ideal opportunity to maybe rectify the situation.

After writing until 2am Tuesday, I seriously struggled to raise myself early on Wednesday and as it was, I did not actually get away until 5am. This was to prove fatal, as right on cue, the Cromer overnighter disappeared at 0730 hours, well before the time I could have arrived. At the opposite end of the county, the Hunstanton bird flew from its roost at 0830.........


A noisy STONE CURLEW was loudly wailing from a crop field opposite the heath and affording excellent views. It was my first of the year (222).

A pair of Eurasian Curlew was also on territory, and 2 Mistle Thrushes were feeding.

(0900-1027 hours)

After missing out on the Cromer Alpine Swift, I decided to try my luck with the Hunstanton bird, but after spending 90 minutes in the area, I decided that the warm SW winds had moved it on its way. After all, there was much evidence of diurnal migration at the cliffs. Meadow Pipits were constantly passing overhead, and passage migrants included 3 SAND MARTINS through to the west and 2 Linnets.

COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS were very conspicuous on the clifftop with at least 4 in the spartan top scrub, whilst on the cliffs below, 15 occupied Northern Fulmar nest were located.

There was a major arrival of Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the shoreline, with 270 counted, with 3 Great Crested Grebes on the sea, and a further congregation of 37 Fulmars. Turnstones in small groups were showing very well on the grass by the lighthouse.


A Ring Ouzel had been seen here earlier but on my brief visit, just a single Black-tailed Godwit was on the marsh.


Most surprising was a TREE SPARROW frequently visiting the feeders by the Information Centre - my first in the county this year and a scarce bird these days. A few House Sparrows were also visiting, along with many Chaffinches and the odd Great and Blue Tit.

A female RUDDY DUCK was on the new marsh to the left of the main track less than 100 yards along, whilst wildfowl on the Freshwater Lagoon included 3 Pintail and small numbers of Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall and Common Shelduck.

At least 1 Marsh harrier was back on territory, with 2 RUFF on the lagoon, as well as 28 Pied Avocets.

The reedbed supported several BEARDED TITS (2 seen) and 1-2 calling CETTI'S WARBLERS. At least 2 Common Chiffchaffs were singing from the Willows.


Both Neil Alford and his close friend Neil Stocks were on site and they had spied both Spoonbill and Merlin. I scored neither but did see 2 Marsh Harriers altercating with a PEREGRINE over the reeds, Little Egret, 15 Pied Avocets, 2 Mistle Thrushes and another Common Chiffchaff.


Admitting defeat on Alpine Swifts for the day, I decided to drive south towards my home county where the 5th-ever North American Green-winged Teal had been discovered at Linford Reserve by Paul Moon. I got down to about Lakenheath when Neil Alford 'phoned to say that he had just been watching an Alpine Swift at Hunstanton over the pine belt by Old Hunstanton at 1338 hours. I could hardly believe my ears but I had to go back.

I turned around at Barton Mills roundabout and made the 44 miles back to the site. Neil had seen the bird just once more before leaving for King's Lynn to drop NS at the railway station. There was a small crowd gathered at the clifftop car park upon my return (very different to the morning when there were just 5 of us searching) including both Mark and John Stirland from Nottingham who had photographed it.

At 1445 hours, the ALPINE SWIFT loomed high in the sky (223), distantly flying over the golf course - relief !

Over the next 30 minutes, it was to drift in much closer, eventually wheeling back and forth over our heads and making a circuit of the cliffs, lighthouse and conifer belt. It was an excellent bird, with quite labouring flight and deep wingbeats, Mark eventually acquiring an excellent selection of images (see above). Soon, Neil Alford reappeared on site, as well as Les Holiwell and others.

I was terribly excited at finally catching up with this aerial vagrant, so much so that I made a terrible mistake when leaving........

Charging south for the Linford Teal, I finally realised that I had left my 'scope and tripod on site as I reached Downham Market and after frantically trying to contact Mark and his dad, Les and others that I had seen there, eventually spoke with Will Soar who confirmed that Trevor Davies and Mike Sidwell had intercepted it. Thank God the Alpine Swift lingered in the car park.........

As it was, I ran out of time for the Teal - traffic on the new Bedford-M1 bypass project put paid to that

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