December 31, 2005

The list so far

The rules: British breeding birds only, seen by both of us.
  1. Robin, 1 Jan, Peterborough, Cambs.
  2. Blackbird, 1 Jan, Peterborough, Cambs.
  3. Starling, 1 Jan, Peterborough, Cambs.
  4. Black-headed Gull, 1 Jan, Peterborough, Cambs.
  5. House Sparrow, 1 Jan, Peterborough, Cambs.
  6. Magpie, 1 Jan, Peterborough, Cambs.
  7. Woodpigeon, 1 Jan, Peterborough, Cambs.
  8. Carrion Crow, 1 Jan, Peterborough, Cambs.
  9. Mute Swan, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  10. Green Woodpecker, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  11. Moorhen, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  12. Long-tailed Tit, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  13. Common Gull, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  14. Coot, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  15. Canada Goose, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  16. Greylag Goose, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  17. Mallard, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  18. Great Crested Grebe, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  19. Song Thrush, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  20. Great Tit, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  21. Blue Tit, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  22. Hawfinch, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  23. Siskin, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  24. Lesser Redpoll, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  25. Goldfinch, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  26. Feral Pigeon [Rock Dove], 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  27. Bullfinch, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  28. Redwing, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  29. Goldcrest, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  30. Cormorant, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  31. Wren, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  32. Chaffinch, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  33. Fieldfare, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  34. Greenfinch, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  35. Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  36. Mistle Thrush, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  37. Grey Heron, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  38. Shoveler, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  39. Pochard, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  40. Pied Wagtail, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  41. Snipe, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  42. Lapwing, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  43. Teal, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  44. Pheasant, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  45. Rook, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  46. Gadwall, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  47. Kestrel, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  48. Little Grebe, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  49. Dunnock, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  50. Marsh Tit, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  51. Nuthatch, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  52. Treecreeper, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  53. Sparrowhawk, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  54. Meadow Pipit, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  55. Tufted Duck, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  56. Golden Plover, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  57. Reed Bunting, 1 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  58. Goldeneye, 1 Jan, Orton BP, Cambs.
  59. Ruddy Duck, 1 Jan, Orton BP, Cambs.
  60. Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Jan, Eldernell, Cambs.
  61. Collared Dove, 1 Jan, Eldernell, Cambs.
  62. Wigeon, 1 Jan, Eldernell, Cambs.
  63. Marsh Harrier, 1 Jan, Eldernell, Cambs.
  64. Jackdaw, 2 Jan, Sawtry, Cambs.
  65. Red-legged Partridge, 2 Jan, Willington, Beds.
  66. Linnet, 2 Jan, Willington, Beds.
  67. Stock Dove, 2 Jan, Willington, Beds.
  68. Barnacle Goose, 2 Jan, Willington, Beds.
  69. Skylark, 2 Jan, Willington, Beds.
  70. Great Black-backed Gull, 2 Jan, Willington, Beds.
  71. Water Rail, 2 Jan, Willington, Beds.
  72. Redshank, 2 Jan, Willington, Beds.
  73. Yellowhammer, 4 Jan, America Farm, Northants.
  74. Jay, 4 Jan, Polebrook Airfield, Northants.
  75. Tree Sparrow, 5 Jan, Eldenell, Cambs.
  76. Pintail, 5 Jan, Eldernell, Cambs.
  77. Whooper Swan, 5 Jan, Eldernell, Cambs.
  78. Herring Gull, 6 Jan, Hunstanton, Norfolk
  79. Oystercatcher, 6 Jan, Hunstanton, Norfolk
  80. Fulmar, 6 Jan, Hunstanton, Norfolk
  81. Guillemot, 6 Jan, Hunstanton, Norfolk
  82. Red-throated Diver, 6 Jan, Hunstanton, Norfolk
  83. Shelduck, 6 Jan, RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk
  84. Curlew, 6 Jan, RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk
  85. Little Egret, 6 Jan, RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk
  86. Cetti's Warbler, 6 Jan, RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk
  87. Egyptian Goose, 6 Jan, RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk
  88. Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Jan, RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk
  89. Ringed Plover, 6 Jan, RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk
  90. Dunlin, 6 Jan, RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk
  91. Common Scoter, 6 Jan, RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk
  92. Slavonian Grebe, 6 Jan, RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk
  93. Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Jan, RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk
  94. Avocet, 6 Jan, RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk
  95. Corn Bunting, 6 Jan, Choseley, Norfolk
  96. Grey Partridge, 6 Jan, Titchwell, Norfolk
  97. Merlin, 6 Jan, Titchwell, Norfolk
  98. Barn Owl, 6 Jan, Stanhoe, Norfolk
  99. Red Kite, 7 Jan, Elmington, Northants.
  100. Common Buzzard, 7 Jan, Blatherwycke, Northants.
  101. Crossbill, 8 Jan, Southey Wood, Cambs.
  102. Coal Tit, 8 Jan, Southey Wood, Cambs.
  103. Kingfisher, 8 Jan, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs.
  104. Stonechat, 14 Jan, Bedfordshire
  105. Short-eared Owl, 14 Jan, Bedfordshire
  106. Ruff, 5 Feb, RSPB Ouse Washes, Cambs.
  107. Brambling, 5 Feb, Woodwalton Fen NNR, Cambs.
  108. Woodcock, 21 Feb, Woodwalton Fen NNR, Cambs.
  109. Hen Harrier, 21 Feb, Woodwalton Fen NNR, Cambs.
  110. Rock Pipit, 25 Feb, Hunstanton, Norfolk
  111. Mediterranean Gull, 25 Feb, Hunstanton, Norfolk
  112. Little Owl, 27 Feb, Hatley St George, Cambs.
  113. Green Sandpiper, 28 Feb, Broom GP, Beds.
  114. Woodlark, 11 Mar, Weeting, Norfolk
  115. Goshawk, 11 Mar, Suffolk
  116. Goosander, 19 Mar, Eyebrook Reservoir, Rutland
  117. Grey Wagtail, 19 Mar, Eyebrook Reservoir, Leics.
  118. Mandarin, 22 Mar, RSPB The Lodge, Beds.
  119. Red-crested Pochard, 26 Mar, Baston & Langtoft GP, Lincs.
  120. Swallow, 28 Mar, Stilton, Cambs.
  121. Sand Martin, 2 Apr, Willington, Beds.
  122. Wheatear, 2 Apr, Willington, Beds.
  123. Raven, 3 Apr, RSPB The Lodge, Beds.
  124. Chiffchaff, 4 Apr, RSPB The Lodge, Beds.
  125. Blackcap, 5 Apr, RSPB The Lodge, Beds.
  126. Willow Warbler, 5 Apr, RSPB The Lodge, Beds.
  127. Yellow Wagtail, 5 Apr, Grafham Water, Cambs.
  128. House Martin, 13 Apr, RSPB The Lodge, Beds.
  129. Hoopoe, 13 Apr, RSPB Fowlmere, Cambs.
  130. Hobby, 16 Apr, Bedford Purlieus NNR, Cambs.
  131. Common Sandpiper, 17 Apr, Dog-in-a-Doublet, Cambs.
  132. Whitethroat, 20 Apr, Everton, Beds.
  133. Nightingale, 20 Apr, Orton BP, Cambs.
  134. Common Tern, 21 Apr, Broom GP, Beds.
  135. Cuckoo, 22 Apr, Bedford Purlieus NNR, Cambs.
  136. Swift, 27 Apr, Peterborough, Cambs.
  137. Sedge Warbler, 28 Apr, RSPB Inner Marsh Farm, Cheshire
  138. Peregrine, 28 Apr, RSPB Inner Marsh Farm, Cheshire
  139. Wood Warbler, 28 Apr, Llyn Crafnant, Conwy
  140. Black Grouse, 29 Apr, Denbighshire
  141. Pied Flycatcher, 29 Apr, Coed Hafod, Conwy
  142. Redstart, 30 Apr, Ogwen Bank, Gwynedd
  143. Black Guillemot, 30 Apr, Fedw Fawr, Anglesey
  144. Chough, 30 Apr, RSPB South Stack, Anglesey
  145. Razorbill, 30 Apr, RSPB South Stack, Anglesey
  146. Sandwich Tern, 30 Apr, Cemlyn, Anglesey
  147. Whimbrel, 30 Apr, Cemlyn, Anglesey
  148. Gannet, 1 May, Llanfairfechan, Conwy
  149. Ring Ouzel, 1 May, Llanberis, Gwynedd
  150. Tree Pipit, 1 May, Caer Llugwy, Conwy
  151. Dipper, 2 May, Betws-y-Coed, Conwy
  152. Lesser Whitethroat, 2 May, Long Eaton, Derbyshire
  153. Garden Warbler, 2 May, Long Eaton, Derbyshire
  154. Osprey, 14 May, RSPB Abernethy Forest, Highland
  155. Spotted Flycatcher, 14 May, Findhorn valley, Highland
  156. Arctic Tern, 14 May, Findhorn valley, Highland
  157. Golden Eagle, 14 May, Findhorn valley, Highland
  158. Scottish Crossbill, 15 May, Grantown Woods, Highland
  159. Capercaillie, 15 May, Grantown Woods, Highland
  160. Hooded Crow, 15 May, Grantown Woods, Highland
  161. Red Grouse, 16 May, Cairn Gorm, Highland
  162. Whinchat, 17 May, Tulloch Moor, Highland
  163. Black-throated Diver, 18 May, Lochindorb, Highland
  164. Crested Tit, 19 May, RSPB Abernethy Forest, Highland
  165. Eider, 19 May, Gruinard Bay, Highland
  166. Guillemot, 21 May, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, East Yorkshire
  167. Kittiwake, 21 May, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, East Yorkshire
  168. Puffin, 21 May, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, East Yorkshire
  169. Turtle Dove, 25 May, Everton, Beds.
  170. Little Ringed Plover, 25 May, Octagon Farm, Beds.
  171. Reed Warbler, 25 May, Willington, Beds.
  172. Montagu's Harrier, 28 May, Norfolk
  173. Nightjar, 28 May, Roydon Common, Norfolk
  174. Honey Buzzard, 29 May, Great Ryburgh, Norfolk
  175. Bearded Tit, 29 May, RSPB Titchwell Marsh, Norfolk
  176. Little Tern, 29 May, RSPB Titchwell Marsh, Norfolk
  177. Dartford Warbler, 3 Jun, County Gate, Devon
  178. Garganey, 6 Jun, Summer Leys LNR, Northants.
  179. Grasshopper Warbler, 12 Jun, Marston Moretaine, Beds.
  180. Golden Oriole, 14 Jul, RSPB Lakenheath Fen, Suffolk
  181. Black Redstart, 15 Jul, Sizewell, Suffolk
  182. Bittern, 15 Jul, RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk
  183. Black-necked Grebe, 17 Jul, Grafham Water, Cambs.
  184. Red-necked Phalarope, 21 Jul, RSPB Titchwell Marsh, Norfolk
  185. Spoonbill, 22 Jul, Cley, Norfolk
  186. Yellow-legged Gull, 22 Jul, Cley, Norfolk
  187. Firecrest, 4 Aug, RSPB The Lodge, Beds.
  188. Great Skua, 10 Sep, Weybourne, Norfolk
  189. Arctic Skua, 10 Sep, Weybourne, Norfolk
  190. Red-backed Shrike, 17 Sep, Burnham, Norfolk
  191. Wryneck, 24 Sep, Porthgwarra, Cornwall
  192. Manx Shearwater, 24 Sep, Porthgwarra, Cornwall
  193. Cirl Bunting, 30 Sep, Berry Head, Devon

December 30, 2005

It's not big and it's not clever

When Katie mentioned she would like to embark on a 2006 yearlist, my first thought was ''What have I done to her?'' Until very recently, she neither knew nor cared what her life, county or patch list totals were. I, on the other hand, was a meticulous lister: even keeping monthly lists of birds seen on my local patch.

K's idea was that our yearlist should be the antithesis of the bitching, back-stabbing hobbyism that often rears its ugly head in the Surfbirds rankings.

Rather than travel 100 miles to see a fine 2nd-winter Caspian Gull in the murk and grime of a January rubbish dump, we will attempt to observe the 221 species that breed regularly in these isles - in their natural environment. No wind-blown accidentals, no poor, lost and bewildered creature doomed to perish in the North Atlantic.

The majesty of the Golden Eagle against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Cairngorms, Choughs wheeling effortlessly over rocky Welsh cliffs, drumming Snipe on misty Spring mornings on the washes and Woodcock calling mystically over woodland rides.

In addition to the 221 species above, we'll add a few more. Species which have bred in the UK (and may indeed still do so) - very special species that will add a certain romance and nostalgia to our quest: the Hoopoe, Red-backed Shrike, European Bee-eater, Serin and Common Rosefinch. Inevitably, this will involve some twitching (and we are not anti-twitching), but this is our list, and most importantly, our adventure.

Wish us luck.

December 24, 2005

What's this all about?

Many birdwatchers are bird-nerds at heart and enjoy keeping lists. County lists, patch lists, life lists, birds-seen-defecating lists, birds-heard-from-the-loo lists - you name it, and a birder somewhere is keeping a list of it.

While for many people it's a way of retaining interest (after the initial flush of excitement on 1 January, when everything is new and shiny), keeping a year list can soon become a millstone around your neck. Or, perhaps more appropriately, an albatross.

Feeling compelled to go and see birds is bound to make you grumpy. Year-listers would do well to remember that birding is supposed to be fun and enjoying what you see is what it's meant to be about. Not keeping up with the Joneses.

Check the Surfbirds UK year list rankings to see what I'm referring to. People chasing around after semi-rarities that they've seen dozens of times before - not because they're interested in seeing it, but because they neeeeed it for the year list, and so-and-so above them in the rankings has been for it, so...

So, in 2006, we're going to subvert the birding listing establishment, by trying to see (or hear) as many British breeding species as possible. Not twitching freakish vagrants that really shouldn't be here, but exploring our own British avifauna in a slightly different way.

With a bit of luck, this will also get us to some interesting parts of the UK that we haven't been to before, or that deserve a repeat visit.

Birding abroad is all very well - and often great fun - but there's a lot to be mopped up on home turf yet. Life's too short to spend it doing things you don't really enjoy...