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, 3 August 2010

RING OUZEL passage reaches a dramatic peak whilst London HOOPOE rounds off an eventful day

Hoopoe (March Heath), Black Redstart (Steve Blake) and Little Gull images (Simon West)


The fine weather continued, although several degrees down on yesterday's high point of 19 degrees C. Winds remained light but frequently touched SE and as cloud increased during the day, the first rain for some time fell in the Chilterns just prior to dark.

Today was exceptional for RING OUZELS with many seen, along with more BLACK REDSTARTS and late on - a performing HOOPOE..........

Diverting away from Wilstone, realising that the Whimbrel had flown off east, my first port of call was the Ivinghoe escarpment, where some 3 RING OUZELS remained present (2 males just east of the fenceline just SE of the Beacon and a female on the southern slope of Inkombe Hole) and 5 NORTHERN WHEATEARS remained from last week. There was nothing new to be seen so I moved east....


It soon became apparent that RING OUZELS were to be the order of the day, with a single male feeding with the Red-necked Wallabies and small Patagonian Deer just south of the White Lion ('scoped from the B 4506 Dunstable Road at SP 995 169), three more (male and two females) in the gully just above the Stone Curlew field just south of the European Bison pen (at SP 998 183) and a further 3 (two males and a female) on Bison Hill, SSE of Icknield Farm - the latter all visible from the B 4506 Dagnall Road.


No sign of any Dingy or Grizzled Skippers on the chalk face but a female RING OUZEL 'chakking' from scrub by the steps from the car park.


Following a call from Lol Carman, Blows Downs were to be my next destination, where a female BLACK REDSTART had just been found - an individual of which I had missed there last week. Following Lol's excellent directions to the T, I eventually located it, showing well on the fenceposts and small bushes in the vicinity of the pallet/gate in the eastern half of the paddocks. I called over to John Temple who was also present and he managed to see it too. It remained faithful to this one spot and was still present when I departed mid-morning.

In the paddock bordering the hedgerow (again, in the eastern paddocks), an impressive 5 RING OUZELS was present (three males and two females), all showing well feeding out in the open on the grass. There were also up to 9 Common Blackbirds present in the paddocks (several gathering food so obviously feeding young) as well as a Song Thrush, whilst on the Caddington Slopes, a singing male Common Whitethroat and pair of Bullfinches was in the vicinity of the second pylon.


After chatting with MJP and RB, I then decided to head NE to Broom, where in the company of Mark Thomas and his extended family, enjoyed a stunning adult male RUFF in full finery feeding with a Ringed Plover and Common Redshanks along the western shoreline. This was my first in the county this year (and perhaps one of the three birds I dipped in North Bucks last night) and was rich ginger on the head, black on the underparts, with bright orange legs. This really was a dapper bird.

Up to 5 Common Terns were present on Peacock's Lake, with a YELLOW WAGTAIL over and a male WILLOW WARBLER singing from perimeter bushes.


A long search revealed nothing more than a flock of 11 continuing COMMON CROSSBILLS and single singing WILLOW WARBLER and COMMON CHIFFCHAFF. Common Buzzards (up to 6 in all) were flighting high above the newly created heathland areas.


Day-ticked SCB but saw little more - the 2 COMMON SHELDUCK and pair of COMMON TERN were noteworthy.

(1300-1410 hours)

Instead of covering Norton Green which I had planned to do, I had to rush down to Tyttenhanger, where Steve Blake had discovered another BLACK REDSTART......

Parking by the Bailiff's Office and mobile canteen, I quickly came upon (at last) my first Herts COMMON WHITETHROAT of the year - a singing male in bushes and scrub by the conveyor belt and Fishing Pit. I was also delighted to see my first ORANGE-TIP butterflies - 3 of them flying around the small wood at the entrance.

The BLACK REDSTART - an adult male moulting towards full summer finery - was present in the fenceline bordering the paddocks situated 500 yards east of Tyttenhanger Farm and the Woodyard and was showing very well in the afternoon sunshine. It was commuting between the scattered Oak trees, a tree-stump, some flowering blossom bushes and the fence wire and was ranging along a 200 yard stretch. Steve Blake managed the record shot above. Another male COMMON WHITETHROAT was sharing this same area, whilst two pairs of TREE SPARROWS was nesting, with a male Muntjac Deer feeding out in full view. A few Peacock Butterflies were also noted.

The main pit held a pair of LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS, a pair of OYSTERCATCHERS and 6 Common Redshank, with up to 10 pairs of Lapwing in adjoining fields and singing male WILLOW WARBLER and several Blackcaps.

Shortly after I departed, yet another male Ring Ouzel was found - most probably the male that had visited Croxley Common Moor earlier in the day.


At least 16 pairs of HOUSE SPARROWS were located in the village, as well as 8 nesting pairs of Common Blackbird. Nearby, the nesting pair of PEREGRINES were utilising their usual crevice.

(1530-1610 hours)

A party of 3 adult-type LITTLE GULLS, two with full black hoods, was showing well commuting between the green algae bunds directly out from the car park and the surface area out from the jetty. There had been 6 birds present earlier in the afternoon. Interestingly, one of the birds had black peppering in the primary feathers suggesting immaturity, but had a full black hood and typically dark underwing. Two birds also had a beautiful pink wash to the underparts. Simon West obtained the excellent images above. They were loosely associating with 8 Black-headed Gulls.

The 16 COMMON TERNS from yesterday evening remained, whilst new for me was the COMMON SANDPIPER feeding out on the bunds.

Some 8 Shoveler remain, a male YELLOW WAGTAIL flew through and hirundines included 42 Sand Martins and 5 European Barn Swallows.

At STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, the 4 Great Crested Grebes, 11 Mute Swan and 27 Tufted Ducks were present, with 5 Barn Swallows patrolling the north bank, whilst MARSWORTH RESERVOIR held 11 Great crested Grebes, 5 Shovelers, a drake Northern Pochard and 2 more Mute Swans. A further 9 Mute Swans was on the adjacent Grand Union Canal.

The horse paddocks held 1 male YELLOW WAGTAIL, 1 adult male WHITE WAGTAIL and 5 Pied Wagtails, with a GREY WAGTAIL by the canal locks and the Marsworth Canal Reedbed holding a singing male SEDGE WARBLER. A further SEDGE WARBLER was in the reedbed wood, where also the first singing male WESTERN REED WARBLER of the year was present (easily audible from the footpath close to the overflow). The male Blackcap and male Common Chiffchaff of the past week or so were both still present and a very noisy CETTI'S WARBLER was by the Sewage Farm.

Overhead of Marsworth were 6 Common Terns, 25 Sand Martin and 7 Barn Swallows.


Well the day was almost over but with confirmation from Paul Whiteman of a North London HOOPOE, I utilised the last couple of hours with a visit there........

I arrived on site shortly after 1830 hours and was immediately updated by Roy Woodward as to the behaviour of the bird. After leaving the east bank of the KGV Reservoir, it had flown to a neighbouring area of fields and had been lost from view. A small crowd had gathered, including Roy, Jan Hein, Lol Boldini, Jonathan Lethbridge and Paul Whiteman, and after spreading out along the A 112 opposite Yardley Lane, I relocated the bird as it flew up from the grassy field and disappeared over the hedge and landed on the lawn of the aptly-named Sewardstone Evangelical Church. As HOOPOES always do, it fed on the vicar's lawn for a few minutes before flying again and entering the air-space of a small housing estate and flats. As Alan Stewart, Paul W and I walked into the cul-de-sac, the HOOPOE flew over us and went back towards the church grounds and then went to ground for a while.

It eventually reappeared and then flew 200 yards eventually to settle in front of some barns just east of the reservoir, where 11 of us enjoyed the best show of the evening as the bird fed out on the track and in the field (see Roy's image above). The bird was constantly alert and nervous, raising its crest at every sound, and after just a very short while, flew back south and returned once more to the church grounds. In fact, this is where it roosted just prior to dusk.

A hugely enjoyable and eventful day

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