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, 25 July 2010

First LESSER WHITETHROAT of the year but best of all - breeding and singing WATER RAILS

A beautiful male Northern Wheatear (Craig Holden)


With the wind still blowing from the Northeast, most of the day was fairly cool. From about midday onwards, the pressure started to build and the cloud cover dissipated, leaving clear blue skies and long spells of sunshine. Towards evening, the wind slackened right off, making it very pleasant.

I spent the day mopping up a few local year-ticks, the highlight being my first LESSER WHITETHROAT of the year, some nice adult LITTLE GULLS and more ARCTIC TERNS.........

(with Chris Pontin)

At last, my first WILLOW WARBLER of the year in the Amersham Recording Area - a singing male showing well in Willows at the west end of the larger lake. Chris had seen one last week which had sang briefly at the back of McMinn's whilst Kevin Holt had seen an equally brief songster in Penn Wood earlier this week.

A singing male Common Chiffchaff was still present, whilst Blackcaps had increased to two singing males, with at least one female present.

Most unusual was the sight of 4 COMMON RAVENS together at 1130 hours - all having a noisy argument and tussle high above the valley. Again, as other Ravens I have observed this week, they were in heavy wing moult, and eventually all four birds flew high NE towards Berkhamstead.

RED KITES were equally active and abundant with at least 7 in the valley skies, as well as 4 Common Buzzards.

Both pairs of Great Crested Grebe were still present, the nest on the smaller lake still intact, with a Coot now sat on another nest just three yards away. Five Tufted Duck were present (with an additional 13 on Bois Mill Pond).

EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS numbered 7, with two singing Wrens, 3 Goldfinch and a displaying male Greenfinch also noted.

(1200-1245 hours)

Joined Mick Frosdick and Geoff Lapworth on the Moor and finally added LESSER WHITETHROAT to my 2010 Year List - a fairly showy rattling male in a restricted area of bushes adjacent to the canal just north of the small concrete bridge over the river (248). I failed to find Geoff's Common Whitethroat though - the cold wind and grey conditions keeping the bird down and quiet.

Up to 6 Blackcaps were noted however, along with 3 singing male WILLOW WARBLERS, and a pair of GREY WAGTAILS were in the vicinity of the lock gates.

Also noted were 1 Mute Swan, 4 Coots, Green Woodpecker, 1 Barn Swallow, Robin (pair nesting), Long-tailed Tit (5), Greenfinch and Reed Bunting.


A pair of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers have been seen at this site fairly frequently in recent times but this afternoon Mick and I could only locate the regular male Nuthatch.

Most impressive was the male WATER RAIL by the boardwalk - in full 'song' and rarely heard during the day.

Two pairs of Stock Dove were noted, 2 Jays, Mistle Thrush (singing male), Song Thrush, Common Blackbird (male in song), Ring-necked Parakeet (4), Wren (2 singing males), Long-tailed Tits (pair), Blue Tit (pair feeding young), Great Tit (singing male), Blackcap (singing male) and Common Chiffchaff (2 singing males).

Two SAND MARTINS flew quickly north at 1310.


I ventured north into Bedfordshire where, mid-afternoon, the juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER was showing very well at the west end and three adult breeding-plumaged LITTLE GULLS were with 4 Black-headed Gulls. A congregation of 26 Great Crested Grebes was huddled together in the NW corner and two male Blackcaps were in full song by the Watchpoint.


The drake GARGANEY was still showing very well on Lagoon 9, loosely consorting with a pair of Gadwall, with my first Beds singing SEDGE WARBLER nearby and two singing male Willow Warblers in scrub near the main gate.


Although nesting Common Crossbills had been located at another site, none was seen in the Charle Wood or Buttermilk Wood areas. In fact, the woodlands were remarkably quiet, with no warblers singing and just Nuthatch, Common Treecreeper, Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, 3 Goldfinch and 3 singing male Coal Tits noted. A new clearing inside Buttermilk yielded several Peacock butterflies in the afternoon sunshine.


With the weather clearing up and the cold NE wind starting to abate, I walked the entire escarpment from Aldbury Nowers, across Pitstone Hill, past Steps Hill and across the Beacon Hill slopes to Gallows Hill. It was virtually birdless and my only highlight was the 3 male NORTHERN WHEATEARS on Beacon Hill, just south of the trig point.

There was no sign of the two male Ring Ouzels present early morning, nor of the male that had been showing well in Inkombe Hole much earlier (per Dave Bilcock).


At 1800 hours, I stopped off at Wilstone, where Jeff Bailey and Steve Rodwell were chatting, and Ben Miller was just leaving. The main point of interest were yet another group of 4 ARCTIC TERNS - commuting between the algae bunds and the jetty - and consorting with 3 Common Terns. Interestingly, at least two of the Arctic Terns had a blackish tip to the bill, but overall the bills were slimmer, shorter and deeper red and when perched, the much shorter legs were apparent. The underparts of all four birds were also much greyer than on the accompanying Common Terns and in flight, the wings were much more rakish and particularly contrasting on the underwing. The tail streamers were only fully developed on one individual and in general, there were no discernible differences in this feature with the 3 Common Terns.

Duck included 18 Gadwall, 8 Shoveler and 11 Northern Pochard, whilst 35 Sand Martin were overhead.

A walk along the Dry Canal produced a flyover GREEN SANDPIPER and a single Yellowhammer but there was no sign of the Lesser Whitethroat that Roy Hargreaves had seen and heard earlier in the day

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