WHAT A GREAT IDEA!
I’m a retired 69-year-old, and have been a birder for 50-plus years, but only started UK year listing in 2011, as a challenge to myself. I’m not a ‘twitcher’, though will go for a rarity if it’s within an hour or so away or if I’m in the right place at the right time, as has happened during my regular planned trips to Norfolk. I haven’t been anywhere near Wales or Scotland this year, so there are many especially Scottish specialities missing from my list. The great thing about a non-competitive UK Year List is that it is up to oneself what to include. Do you count subspecies, escapes, birds of a dubious origin? Do you include birds just heard (how many times have you seen Quail?)? There are no rules, it’s up to you. Every January is the start of a new challenge, you never take common species for granted and every year throws up different ‘blockers’. For me, this year, it’s species such as Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Hawfinch, Willow Tit, Wryneck and, so far, Jack Snipe. Since 2011, I have managed just over 200 in all but the first year, the record up to now being 233 in 2015. This year, with two months to go, I’m on a personal record of 239. The only problem is that the target for 2017 is to exceed that! So, I would say to anyone, sign up, challenge yourself, just don’t get competitive! John Boarder
Ed comment: We agree, John – listing, in the end, should always be about enjoying seeing birds, and help you look closer at common birds. Our #My200birdyear challenge, starting in the January issue, will help you do just that.