WHAT A GREAT IDEA!

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

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.

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