At the end of last year I decided to start a 2012 UK Year List. I’ve never Year Listed before & thought it may give me an incentive to get out & about more. I mentioned it in passing to Paul, a friend who I’ve been on lots of birding trips with. He said he would keep a list too & suggested that we could use Google Docs to keep both lists & see who could amass the biggest haul. Mary our other birding friend was added to the list & Paul then asked if a few of his buddies could join in. As far as I was concerned, the more the merrier! Dom joined in straight away & Steve has just joined in.
This is a race of skill & experience (Paul, Dom & Steve have been birding forever) versus time (I’m retired so can spend longer in the field). Mary is doubly disadvantaged having started birding just before me about 11 years ago & living in Switzerland! We are fairly widely distributed around the UK, which will undoubtedly affect our lists; Paul lives in Glasgow, Dom in Staines & Steve near Woking.
Up until Dom & Steve’s visit to Hampshire & Sussex last weekend, I had a reasonable lead. Now it’s neck & neck, or rather beak & beak. Mary hasn’t been over yet this year, but we have a 10 day trip planned from 29th March, where we’ll wing it & just go where the birds are. We’re also planning another trip for May, so she should manage a decent list. In the meantime, she's the referee.
It’s very early days as yet, so I’m just enjoying my lead whilst it lasts. I have a feeling it won’t be for long!
The current standings are as follows:
Favourites: 2 UK Life ticks Red-throated Diver & Spotted Sandpiper; Black-throated Diver, Red-breasted Goose, Ring-necked Duck, Water Rail, Med Gull, Long-eared Owl, Yellow-browed Warbler, Snow Bunting, Great Grey Shrike.
Birds that make me jealous: Black-necked Grebe, Cattle Egret, Tundra Bean Goose, Mandarin Duck, Scaup, Temminck’s Stint, Ring-billed, Iceland & Glaucous Gulls; Shore Lark, Spanish Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco
Paul: 97 + 2 Sub species
Birds I wish I had: Whooper & Bewick’s Swans; Pink-footed, White-fronted & Barnacle Geese; Spoonbill; Great White Egret, Wood Duck, Pectoral Sandpiper, Iceland Gull, Black Guillemot, Twite
Birds I’m coveting: Cattle Egret, Tundra Bean Goose, Shore Lark, Spanish Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco
Mary: a duck! (but not for long!)