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, 2 January 2011

Up to 82 Species - rare Geese help swell the pot


A much brighter day than of late but several degrees cooler. In fact, there was a slight frost overnight. It remained bright all day, with very light winds - in fact very pleasant all round.

I spent today 'mopping up' on a few local Year-ticks and checking out some late December 2010 rarities......Undoubted highlight was a flock of BARNACLE GEESE....

JUBILEE RIVER, TAPLOW (Bucks section between Amerden Lane and Marsh Lane) (park at SU 915 803)

I first checked the grass field SSW of Amerden Lane, where grazing in the field were 25 Mute Swans, 2 Greylag Geese and 120 Atlantic Canada Geese; the 8 Egyptian Geese had all moved on.

The field also held 372 Woodpigeons.

The Amerden Scrapes and river held 6 Little Grebe, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Grey Heron, several Sinensis Cormorants, 2 Gadwall, 9 Eurasian Wigeon, 130 Tufted Ducks and numerous Coot, with Ring-necked Parakeet recorded, as well as Jay, Great Tit and 2 Eurasian Skylarks that flew over.

Driving around to Marsh Lane Weir, I soon found the geese. As luck would have it, 15 of the EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GEESE had flown from the field to drink on the river and were affording some exceptional views. This 15 held 5 adults and 10 juveniles.

The other three birds (a pair with a single juvenile) were still feeding amongst the 186-strong Greylag Geese flock SW of the car park in the field. A single adult Bar-headed Goose was also with them.

Checking the Jubilee River from here added 8 Mute Swans (including 5 first-winters), 6 Gadwall, 2 Northern Pochards and a few Moorhens, along with a Grey Wagtail at the weir, 5 more flyover Skylarks, several Fieldfare and 9 Lapwings.

At 1135 hours, a flock of 15 BARNACLE GEESE appeared from the east and attempted to land with the Greylags. They circled the field twice but then headed off SSE towards Dorney Rowing Lakes before veering east and following the Jubilee River course along. They circled Dorney Wetlands briefly before eventually flying off SW over Dorney Common. I am assuming that they are part of the huge displacement of Continental Barnacle Geese currently being undertaken in Southern England, with flocks of over 100 birds appearing at various localities along the South Coast, from East Sussex to Dorset and South Devon. They were calling constantly as they were flying around. The only non-naturalised birds in the area is the flock at Eversley GP.


A further 460 Tufted Ducks were click-counted on the section of Jubilee River between Marsh Lane and the weir to the west of Moores Lane, along with 6 Shoveler, 50+ Eurasian Wigeon, a single Common Teal, 25 Mute Swans and an island filled with 104 Lapwing. Meadow Pipit and Redwing were both new for the year.

East and west of Moores Lane, i recorded 3 female SMEWS but no drake.


Although largely frozen, I was most surprised to find all of the resident MANDARIN DUCKS present on the Upper Pond - a total of 25 birds (15 adult drakes).

The adjacent woodland yielded Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Jay, Wren, Robin, Great Tit and Blue Tit.

BURTLEY WOOD (BUCKS) (A355) (SU 950 884)

A Red Kite was repeatedly swooping down to feed on a dead cock Common Pheasant on the southbound verge of the A355.

(permit access only)

All of the water was frozen and much of the rubbish largely covered. Not one gull was to be seen so I made to by click-counting the corvids - a staggering 334 Carrion Crows present, either feeding on the rubbish or roosting in the trees surrounding the pits. A total of 13 Red Kites were seen, along with Skylark, Pied Wagtail and Song Thrush.


I was surprised to see tipping being carried out on a Sunday and from the entrance to the site, careful scrutiny could be made of the large number of birds taking advantage.

Again, corvid numbers were impressive, with a further 424 Carrion Crows click-counted, along with 44 Red Kites scavenging and 100 Common Starlings.

The gull flock comprised at least 2,400 individuals - the bulk of them Black-headed. Not a single Common Gull to be seen but 430 Herring Gulls (including a surprising number of Argenteus - perhaps 50%), 73 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 53 Great Black-backed Gulls (including a few first-winters).


Well what a difference a few days make. Penn Wood today was very unproductive - no Woodcock, Bullfinch, redpolls or Hawfinch - in fact very little and hardly worth the effort - 7 Jays, Nuthatch, 4 Goldcrests and a Muntjac.

Nearby, where the Penn Bottom lane joins the main A413 east of Hazlemere, 2 Redwings were feeding on the verge - the first I have seen locally this year (since the snow, numbers of this species have diminished in the Amersham District).


More Corvid counting - this time Jackdaws - 302 of them feeding in a field 300 yards east of Mop End Farm.


Still virtually frozen over apart from a small section at the west end. Remarkably though, worth the visit, as two adult drake MANDARIN DUCKS were present - a scarce species in the locale. Just 8 Coots remained, with the gull roost on the ice harbouring 76 Black-headed Gulls and 8 adult Common Gulls. An adult Mute Swan was standing isolated in one of the neighbouring fields with 2 Red Kites roosting in a dead tree by the access roundabout.

FULLER'S HILL, CHESHAM (BUCKS) - 3 Long-tailed Tits in a roadside hedgerow


A group of 4 Moorhens were feeding on the grass by the stream.

(with David Bilcock & Roy Hargreaves)

A late afternoon visit. Not much change from yesterday although wildfowl click-counting revealed the presence of 317 Common Teal, 239 Wigeon and 134 Northern Pochard; 12 Mute Swans remain as do a single Little Grebe, just 4 Great Crested Grebes and 8 NORTHERN PINTAILS (4 adult drakes).

A redhead GOOSANDER was on the ice-free section by the hide (Ian Williams had seen two earlier in the day) and the gull roost produced over 1,600 Black-headed, 96+ Common and 4 Lesser Black-backs. David did superb in picking out a standing roosting adult winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL - presumably the same bird last seen in early December.

(with David & Roy, as well as Mike Campbell and Stuart Wilson; at least 12 others were also present)

For the second night running, one of the wintering EURASIAN BITTERNS chose to roost halfway up the hedgerow at the back of the reedbed - almost directly opposite the hide -allowing everybody present an opportunity to see it It remained there into darkness. We also saw the second bird - flying from left to right at the back of the reedbed at 1630 hours.

The resident BARN OWL also put in an appearance - hunting over the rank vegetation east of the sewage farm - and as dusk approached, TAWNY OWLS became very active in the tall trees bordering the compound - two birds at least calling.

Only a single WATER RAIL squealed and there was no sound of any Cetti's Warblers (although Ian had earlier seen the Wilstone individual as well as 54 roosting Corn Buntings).

Saturday, 1 January 2011

RED-THROATED DIVER is bird of the day


Virtually all of the lying snow has now melted but on the lakes, gravel pits and reservoirs, thick ice is still prevalent and many sites are still not ice-free. It was another reasonably mild day though (temperatures reaching 7 degrees C) but very dreary and grey, with rain moving in during the afternoon.

The undoubted highlight of the day was a RED-THROATED DIVER in Bedfordshire, found by Roy Nye.


At 0400 hours, two TAWNY OWLS were calling to each other in the tall trees opposite the house, whilst later at 0800 hours, the lawn and feeders yielded Woodpigeon (4), Collared Dove, the continuing Song Thrush, Common Blackbird, Common Starling, Jackdaw, House Sparrow (34), Blue Tit, Robin, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail (adult male), Goldfinch (1) and Common Magpie.


A total of 82 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS was still present in Chesham Broadway, continuously commuting between the tall trees behind the Station car park and the Rowan trees in front of Waterstones book shop. On occasions, the birds showed very well and were constantly entertaining the general public as they were walking by. Both Red Kite and Black-headed Gull were overhead.


The large lake was still completely frozen but the smaller had just one restricted area of open water. As I scanned its contents, I was amazed to see a redhead GOOSANDER present in amongst the 8 Northern Pochard and 3 Tufted Ducks. This is a very rare bird in the Recording Area and the first for several years. It was showing very well and diving frequently. I telephoned Chris Pontin who lives just across the road from the site and he managed to see it before it was flushed inadvertently by dogwalkers. It lasted all of ten minutes !

A single LITTLE EGRET was also noted (fishing in the shallow stream behind the houses), along with 5 Mute Swans (family party of two adults and three surviving young), 28 Mallard, just 4 Coot, Moorhen, 18 Black-headed Gulls, Wren, Robin, Great Tit and Coal Tit.

A GREY WAGTAIL was feeding on the stream by the entrance whilst the Birches held 46 SISKINS and a few Goldfinches.


Up to 184 Black-headed Gulls were present, whilst opposite 75 Rooks were gathered on the grass fields. It is interesting to see how many Rooks are already attending the nests.

Nearby, an adult Mute Swan was surviving at Bois Mill Lake.


A second LITTLE EGRET was feeding in shallow water just east of Latimer Bridge, with Common Kestrel and Chaffinch noted nearby.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in Latimer Village, as were the resident flock of 20 Fan-tailed Doves.

The section of River Chess between Neptune Falls and Latimer Bridge held 2 Mute Swans, 10 Tufted Duck, 10 Northern Pochard, 8 Coot and 2 Wrens, whilst the fully ice-free Great Water held 86 Atlantic Canada Geese, a single GREYLAG GOOSE, a further 13 Mute Swans, 17 GADWALL (a high count for this site), 7 Tufted Duck, 6 Northern Pochard, 34 Coots, Grey Heron, 68 Black-headed Gulls and an adult Common Gull.

The slopes held a pair of Stock Dove and 7 Mistle Thrushes, whilst other species noted included Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch and 2 Carrion Crows.


A third wintering LITTLE EGRET was present in its usual area of river by Church Covert whilst the wide section of water just west of the hamlet produced an excellent 4 COMMON TEAL (3 drakes) (another very scarce bird in the locale), a Little Grebe and a Grey Heron. Two Robins were present at Mill Farm Barns but there was no sign of the two Common Stonechats present before the freeze.


Sadly, a very freshly killed Badger was lying beside the A 416 almost opposite the entrance to Haresfoot School at SP 882 064.


Met up with my good friend Colin Oram on the jetty and censused the wildfowl present on the four patches of open water. Frustratingly, we could see no sign of the wintering Water Pipit.

Three gorgeous adult drake GOOSANDERS were the highlight, all hauled out of the water and roosting on the Drayton Bank.

The complete roll-call was as follows -:

Great Crested Grebe (just 7 - and no sign of the Little Grebes)
Grey Heron (1)
LITTLE EGRET (1 feeding along the central bank opposite the jetty)
Cormorants (12)
Mute Swan (15 in total, with just 1 first-winter)
Mallard (25)
Gadwall (12)
Common Teal (213)
Eurasian Wigeon (202)
Shoveler (49)
NORTHERN PINTAIL (2 drakes and 2 females in patch by hide)
Tufted Duck (27)
Northern Pochard (84)
Common Goldeneye (1 drake and two females)
GOOSANDER (the 3 drakes)
Coot (394)
Black-headed and Common Gulls
Woodpigeon (66 in adjoining crop fields)
COMMON KINGFISHER (1 fishing from the Drayton Bank)
Pied Wagtail (1)
Common Starling (23 flew over)
Wren (1 in car park)
Yellowhammer (male flew over)

At Wilstone Great Farm nearby, 4 House Sparrows were seen, with 10 more in conifers by the Anglers Retreat in Marsworth.


Still largely frozen but packed into the one open area of water were 28 Mute Swans (1 first-year), 268 Coot, 11 Moorhen, 22 Tufted Ducks and 18 Northern Pochard.


Following a text from Johnny Lynch, I stopped off at Grovebury where I eventually located both flocks of Atlantic Canada Goose feeding in grass fields between the sand quarry and the Grand Union Canal. A single Greylag Goose was found amongst the 310 birds but I could find no trace of the very wary PINK-FOOTED GOOSE that John had seen earlier. The fields also yielded 2 Common Kestrels.


The last hour or so of daylight (1520-1615 hours) was spent at Stewartby Lake in intermittent rain, partly in accompaniament with Tim Robson and Martin Stevens.

The RED-THROATED DIVER was still present and favouring the sailing club end. It was very mobile and diving constantly and appeared to have somewhat scaly-fringed upperparts indicating a juvenile.

Being ice-free unlike neighbouring Brogborough Lake, large numbers of waterfowl were present at the site, including exceptional numbers of diving duck.......

Great Crested Grebes (127)
Little Grebes (9)
EURASIAN BITTERN (although up to 6 birds were seen during the ice, Tim and I obtained awesome views of a very pale individual wandering out in the open and on top of the Phragmites in the reedbed in the NW corner)
Mute Swan (1)
Mallard, Coot & Moorhen
Eurasian Wigeon (18)
Common Teal (44)
Tufted Duck (772)
*GREATER SCAUP (a first-winter drake with Tufted Ducks to the east of the watchpoint and two adult females in the NW arm to the right)
Northern Pochard (98)
Common Goldeneye (32)
WATER RAIL (2 heard)
A total of 800 gulls roosting, predominantly Black-headed, but including 55 Common, 18 Argenteus Herring, 90+ Scandinavian Herring, 44 Lesser Black-backed and 21 Great Black-backed; also 1 adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL in with them too.
Common Kingfisher (1 by the stream)

Common Pheasant (1 male), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Rook, Fieldfare, Redwing, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Wren, Robin, Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit

At dusk, 1 PEREGRINE was roosting on top of one of the chimneys.