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, 4 January 2014

A tale of two IBISES


Lots of flooding

 It was another night of strong winds and heavy rain and this continued way into the morning, resulting in more and more flooding, particularly around river valleys. Temperatures held up at around 8 degrees C but light remained poor throughout the day and the rain rarely let up.
After speaking to Kevin Duncan, I left my garden Pied Wagtail for SURREY mid-morning, hoping to connect with the GLOSSY IBIS - seemingly present in the flooded river valley between SPREAKLEY and FRENSHAM since New Years Day - a species I had not seen in the county.
Anyhow, I pitched up by FRENSHAM CHURCH late morning only to find that the Ibis had been flushed by two unleashed black dogs from besides the footpath leading NW from the church just before I arrived (earlier on the bird had been favouring the floods west of Mill Lane just north of Frensham Manor - SU 836 411). I searched around a bit with several other observers but to no avail before donning my wellington boots and walking SSE along the river from SPREAKLEY. I soon relocated the bird, feeding with 3 Little Egrets, on the north side of the river, grazing recently flooded areas for prey items. It seemed to be in complete first-winter plumage with a peppered head and a mixture of bronze, purple and green shades in the body plumage and was fairly approachable. I took around 200 images of the bird, a selection of which are presented below. With some shooting going on in the vicinity, the bird flew up on a couple of occasions, but came back down in the valley fairly quickly - the last time I see it being only 500 yards SSW of the hotel on the A287.
The area was rich in birdlife with the following also being seen -:
Up to 5 Little Egrets, Grey Heron, 5 Mute Swans (family party), 30 Mallard, Moorhen, 2 Common Buzzard, Collared Dove, 45 Woodpigeon, 4 Common Magpie, 2 Carrion Crow, 65 Jackdaw, 35 Fieldfare, 8 Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, 5 Common Blackbird, 2 Bullfinch, 30 Chaffinch, 6 Greenfinch, 12 Meadow Pipit, Robin, Great & Blue Tits and a group of 9 House Sparrows at Rookery Farm Cottage.

Whilst photographing the Glossy Ibis at 1330 hours, I received a call from Stuart Warren - a twitching sparring partner from the 1980's. He exclaimed ''Do you still need a Glossy Ibis for Bedfordshire?''. ''Of course I do'', I declared, considering the only county record had been from a single observer and with that he uttered ''Well I'm watching one now, only yards from my house !''. I uttered those immortal words 'make sure you keep on it' and raced off........
It was to be 90 minutes later that I was finally to get to LANGFORD but thankfully Stuart and the GLOSSY IBIS were still there - result - two ticks in one day. The bird was frequenting a recently flooded meadow to the west of the village at TL 183 410, this same area attracting a large flock of Atlantic Canada and Greylag Geese and up to 5 Little Egrets. It was fairly distant at a good 400 yards and was busy feeding, flying up on just one occasion in the 40 minutes that I was there. In flight, it seemed as though it had been shot at - a number of flight feathers missing on one wing (see pix below). It represented my 264th species in Bedfordshire and comes hard on the heels of my first in neighbouring Hertfordshire just over a month ago.
The river held Common Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Water Rail and GREEN SANDPIPER with 40 Mallard, 19 Gadwall and a pair of Shoveler on the 'lake'. Several Common Buzzards were in the vicinity.

By the time I got there, virtually everyone had connected - Pete Smith, Barry Nightingale, Steve Blain, Pip, Lol, Bob C, MJP, DJO, Dave Ball and Jim Gurney (Richard Bashford & Andy Plumb were out of county)

Note the damage in the left wing

It was always very distant - 500 yards away at minimum

 In the HATCH END area, both Common Kestrel and 4 Red-legged Partridge were new for the year, whilst STEWARTBY LAKE produced GREAT NORTHERN DIVER (the juvenile patrolling the eastern shoreline) and 23 Great Crested Grebes but only 240 Black-headed and 29 Common Gulls in the roost (also 3 Goldcrests by the stream) and BROGBOROUGH LAKE at dusk, 5 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Little Grebes, 8 Cormorant, 306 Coot, 87 Tufted Duck, 33 Common Goldeneye and the lingering female COMMON SCOTER.

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