The following is from a UK400 Editorial (see post below) where the policeman of birding stated “Like it or not, birding attracts a disproportionate number of fabricators and it is my job to make sure that the national bird record archives is not distorted by these claims. I am passionate about bird records and wish to give an accurate representation of what has been seen….I am a perfectionist and strive to make accurate and fully comprehensive reports …. it is beneficial to us all that only definite claims are accepted.” Elsewhere he has stated “I keep meticulous notes on all of the birds that I see and record even every Song Thrush and Lesser Black-backed Gull.”
We all know who is the biggest fabricator!! Only in recent years has George been putting his lists on bubo. His key bubo life lists are totally inadequate e.g. the UK400 life list only gives 338 out his claimed around 590 birds, missing out the key birds. His AERC WP life list only has 618 birds and states “A work in progress; 200 or so vagrants to add to list”, again missing out the key birds. This is not helpful for someone who has claimed to be the number one WP life lister and states on his website he has seen 880 birds.
His UK400 year lists are not exactly accurate either. Lets start with his UK400 2013 year list and then move on to later ones. Remember that the following examples are boosting his year list totals as each record adds yet one more to his year tally. George would throw a fit if a rival counted some of these. George has even accused rivals of counting escapes when they have turned out to be real birds and accepted by the BBRC (e.g. Adrian Webb’s Black Kite).
On 23/6/2009, George rejected the Dorset Hooded Merganser with the details here – “After much deliberation, the drake HOODED MERGANSER …has now been formally accepted on to Category D1 … The bird therefore becomes UNCOUNTABLE on any UK400 Club day, life, county or year lists.” But that did not stop George counting it on his 2013 year list for 13/3/2013.
Ross’s Snow Goose on 3/12/2013, Marshside Marsh RSPB, Lancs, George stated “A first-winter of unknown origin with Mallards”. This stayed around Marshside and nearby sites for nearly 4 years when it was believed to have died.
Black-winged Stilt on 15/3/2014, Castle Mills. On 2014 year list George stated “bearing an orange ring indicating captive origin”. There were quite a number of escapes that year.
Ross’s Snow Goose on 8/4/2014, Wilstone Reservoir (Tring). George stated “first-winter of presumably captive origin with Greylag Geese”. This was regarded by many as an escape.
Bufflehead on 29/10/2015 at Priory Country Park, Bedford. On his 2015 list George stated this “first-winter drake bearing a metal ring on its right leg”. Of course UK400 (i.e. George) can count what he likes but we prefer BBRC views and they rejected it.
A pair of Ruddy Shelduck on 20/2/2015 and 26/7/2016 at Pitsford Reservoir. These were counted on his 2015 list and 2016 list and George even stated in 2016 “Perhaps now of highly dubious origin as seemingly resident now”.
Looking at George’s 2016 UK400 list on bubo we found 9 errors and/or probable fabrications. Some of these are discussed below.
Since 2016, George has been sending twitter messages from Little Charfont which are time stamped. This has shown that he did not see the American White-winged Scoter on 2/7/2016 at Murcar Beach, Aberdeenshire and the Scratby Hall Hume’s YBW on 9/12/2016. We believe he didn’t see these 2 birds on any date.
George strung his only record of Rustic Bunting for 2016. He was at Kilnsea on the 6/10/2016 but there are witnesses who say he did not see it. George needs to supply witnesses for this record on his year list.
Also George is claiming Greenish Warbler at Bempton on 6/10/16. There was NO Greenish there – it was an Arctic Warbler. Some Arctic’s are very Greenish-like. As George had seen Arctic at Landguard that’s yet another one off his 2016 list!
George posted on Facebook on 23/2/2017 with the title “Did I throw away a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler last year?” with some good photo’s which included the crown of the Arctic at Bempton on 6/10/16. George received quite a number of comments back. As it looked nothing like a Pale-legged, unsurprisingly no one thought it was one, e.g. “Definitely not a Pale-legged, or Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, would expect a greyish crown among other things.”, e.g. “Well, it is a leaf warbler and it does have pale legs. But i wouldn’t worry too much about this one.”
Stow Blue Rock Thrush on 29/12/2016 is on his UK400 2016 list even though he claimed it was an escape.
Gareth Hughes had 352 for 2016, and George claimed 355. We believe that George got less than 352, which is typical of George of adding a few more on to beat his rivals.
The Stow Blue Rock Thrush is also on his BOU 2017 list. He does not yet have a bubo UK400 2017 list. A bit more on the BRT can be seen in the comment below.
George’s has Cackling Geese on 24/2/2017. George stated on twitter “Family party of Dutch Cackling Geese still present in the Cuckmere this afternoon with the Barnacle Geese that also came from Holland.” Someone replied: “Only 4 ‘pure’ Cackling surely?” George’s replied “Yes, but who were the parents of the 5 young?!!” Netherlands has a feral population but there is no certain evidence that these 9 birds came from there.
The one comment below actually contains 2 comments which have been merged into 1 comment.
The Master list keeper has been keeping a beady eye on Mark Pass’s 2016 year list.
Here is a new excellent Hitler video on Mark’s list and of course George. It is a mixture of fact and fiction – a bit like George’s lists. Its at http://www.captiongenerator.com/400972/I-got-the-biggest-of-all-time – this website makes it easy to post it onto Facebook.
The rest of this post is background to the Hitler video.
Although George pretends to be a top twitcher, on important megas especially on islands, he does not always go or takes a slow travel option, unlike his rivals. So he has missed many key birds. Quite a number he has caught up with at a later date but some he still needs (e.g. Eastern Kingbird, Thick-billed Warbler, Brown-headed Cowbird, Grey Catbird, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Magnolia Warbler, Caspian Plover, Purple Martin). In an attempt not to get left behind the big listers, he pads his list out with birds that are not proven (e.g. Scilly Isles Amur Wagtail, Bickell’s Thrush), etc. When he does year lists, other than his guided tours, he does not twitch Scotland that much.
Adrian Webb’s all time record of 383 was obtained in 2000 but George knocked it down to 378 with no real justification. George’s 1996 year-list was originally 375. Then in Nov. 2002, he claimed that he had beaten Adrian’s record with 384 birds. His 1996 list had grown by 8 new splits and WH Duck. This claim of 384 birds was not believed. Also he didn’t add any splits or WH Duck to Adrian’s list some of which Adrian did see!! Then a few years later George increased it to 386.
In 1996 George claimed he had seen 41 YBW, 24 Wryneck, 68 Wood Sand along with other unlikely high bird counts. He claimed for 2016 American WW Scoter and Humes YBW. We believe he didn’t see either of these 2 birds.
We recently come came across birdstandards and lgreego twitter posts by Owen Foley who is not exactly a fan of George. These mention George’s departure from the Birdwatching magazine as a contributor.
The background to this is that George sent out some racist tweets. E.g. “I wish they would carry out equivalent DNA testing on human beings – 10 species at least”. “Trouble is, post 1979, the UK has gradually become more multi-cultural, and that’s where our problems lie”. This got him into trouble. One reply to George was “UR being vilified for your racist posts (which you tried to hide) & your sad attempt to blame them on a parody account.” Then in Nov 2016 a “Remove Lee GR Evans as a Birdwatching Magazine contributor” petition was created which stated “It is inappropriate that Birdwatching Magazine, ……retains an individual who makes such divisive, racist comments as one of their contributors, …. request the removal of Lee GR Evans from further publications.”
On Feb 13th, George stated on twitter “The magazine couldn’t afford to keep me on I’m afraid” and he “wasn’t prepared to work for £3.12 per hour anymore.” This claimed figure of £3.12 per hour clearly is not true. The minimum wage is £7.20 and anyway freelance contributors are not paid by the hour, but by the number of words e.g. a set figure per 1000 words. We also understand that Birdwatching’s contributor rates are very good.
We also have it on good authority that he was not sacked and it had nothing to do with his political or racist views. So either George is a very slow writer or left of his own accord for some reason, perhaps he was getting a bid greedy.
The previous post – Stow Blue Rock Thrush post does reference the BirdForum “Somewhere in the dark and murky Cotswolds” post by Pariah (Owen Foley) but we thought it deserved a full post of its own, so here is a copy below. It mentions the Blue Rock Thrush, Mark Pass and of course George (a UKIP follower).
“Nigel was pensive. His classic black London cab trundled slowly towards it’s ominous destination. This kind of summons was rarely a good thing in his experience. “Should have stayed in the EU.” He muttered, tentatively fondling the shiny new German passport in his breast pocket, as though it was a warm talisman against what was to come.
His cab finally came to trundling halt, brakes squeaking wearily. He opened the creaking door, and flung a wad of filthy, ill begotten, euro notes at the immigrant cab driver, not even bothering to look back in his usual contempt. “You’re not worth the sterling” he mumbled disgustedly. The cab peeled away leaving the place silent and void of light.
Nigel could see nothing. The darkness was impenetrable, encompassing and all consuming. A match flared to life. Boris lit a cigar, the match light glinting off his shock of white plastic hair for a moment, before dying out, leaving only the red glow of his stogie end to mark his presence.
He stared at Nigel with his cold, dead eyes.
Nigel was silent, surprisingly. Boris had expected to startle him, but perhaps the fear of their joint summoner was looming larger in Nigel’s primitive excuse for a mind.
Boris broke the silence first. “Any idea why he called this meeting?“
“No.” Nigel replied, flatly. “But let’s push on with it, I’m due back in the Whitehouse bathroom tomorrow. Those hand towels won’t pass themselves out.”
Boris snorted the bemused, practiced snort one may only learn at Eton, and the two made their way into Fisher close. “I’m finally attending a meeting about SOMETHING to do with fish. If the EU parliament could see me now!” chortled Nigel.
They proceeded ahead, into the darkness, but the sound of footfalls and a whimpering, like a scolded child or dog which had been sharply kicked, was approaching from the abyss. Only when the neon blue bandana was vaguely perceptible in the gloom did they recognize Garry Bagnell.
“They wouldn’t let me into the inner circle…Again.” whined Garry, as he pushed past both Nigel and Boris. Boris shook his head, mystified as to how Garry ever thought he could attend such a meeting. The dark one would never trust him. He had never served the proper apprenticeship, and had even begun keeping a BOU list.
Nigel and Boris donned their black ceremonial robes and entered the close. It was brighter here, as warm light strained from within the closed curtains of the various homes, within which cowered ordinary, decent people, terrified by the presence of the strange, hooded entities in their neighbourhood.
Nigel and Boris were not alone.
The rest of the panel of advisers were also present, all equally as nervous as Nigel and Boris. What could have happened to call such a meeting?
Before anyone could speak, there was a hideous sound, like scales rasping on stone, as a menacing figure descended from the wall of one of the houses, far closer to the normal human beings than any of the council had dared approach. The clinking of it’s crucifix earring against the brickwork sent shivers of abject terror down their spines.
The LGRE… had arrived.
From beneath his robe, the LGRE removed several coconuts, and hurled them at the feet of his assembled panel. The coconuts glowed and throbbed with an eerie green light before they began to twist and contort, growing larger and taking shape. Before the assemblage of followers, the congealing masses took the form of huge, foreboding thrones, decorated with all manner of imaginary and un-split subspecies, and carvings of distant archipelagos.
The council took their seats and the LGRE took stock of their ranks, wincing visibly at presence of two empty thrones. The first, reserved for the great Killian Mullarney, who evidently was skipping his 1000th panel meeting in a row: path of the course. The second throne, seated at the LGRE‘s right hand, was draped and covered in black.
Nigel was the first to speak. “My Lord LGRE, you summoned us? It is our honor to obey.” he said pitifully. Nigel had long ago relented to the role of lapdog, and played the part ever so well.
LRGE eyed him suspiciously, as he eyes everyone suspiciously, with that one glowing red eye. An eye that never slept, that was always watching.
“What is the status of Brexit, Nigel?” snarled the LRGE.
“We have achieved the vote, as per your wishes, my Lord. I am certain we will leave the EU soon.” snivelled Nigel
“And you Boris? Will Scotland leave the UK to stay in the EU?” growled the LRGE.
“I am certain of it, my Lord. I have insulted virtually every nation on the planet. No one will want anything to do with us.” grunted Boris.
“Excellent.” cackled the LRGE. “With Scotland gone, the advantage of the Chequebook Birders chartering to Shetland will be gone. I shall strike down their totals and my lists will reign supreme!”
The assembly relaxed slightly in their seats, pleased with their master’s appreciation.
“But we must alter our plans.” rasped LRGE. “Mark Pass…….. has achieved a year list of 406!” These words seemed to catch in the throat of the LRGE.
The assembled council mumbled and gasped in fear. Was this true? Could it be possible?
“Do you know where we are?” he quizzed his minions. “This is the site of the Blue Rock Thrush. I have already laid the groundwork for it’s dismissal as an escape. My close personal friend, Mark Zuckerberg, has generated several false facebook identities to propagate the story the bird escaped in Kent. It will be un-tickable on Mark Pass’s year list. Other species on his list will be far easier to claim as fraudulent, but this long staying mega must be quashed now, before it is too late. It is imperative. If I do not undermine his yearlist now, then it will stand for all time as the highest once Brexit is enacted. That cannot be allowed to happen.”
A hooded figure among the council rose to his feet. “My Lord? Is now the right time to begin such a campaign, the recent loss of George Michael…” queried aging rocker, Elton John, looking to the empty, black clad throne.
“Aye, my Lord.” chimed in Bryan Adams, “The strain of such a loss….”
“Your words and concern are touching, my friends. Yes, George lived his likely exactly as I lived my life, and his loss is greatly felt… but there is no choice. This number 1 year list must be dealt with now.” sighed the LRGE. “And so too must we deal with the traitor in our midst!”
The shock of these words hit the assembled minions with the force of 1000 BBRC rejections. Who would dare try to foil the plans of the great LRGE? Who would dare oppose his wishes?
Andy Lawson dropped to his knees in terror, the bright yellow of his banana costume visible beneath the hem of his robes, sobbing and chanting “It’s a 1st winter, prove me wrong” over and over, again and again.
The LRGE sneered viciously. “Andy here has been saying the bird is a first winter. He would see it tickable to all. And after I have already formulated the tale it is an escaped adult from Kent. Tsk Tsk.”
The council of advisers were solemn and silent. They knew what was to come.
The LRGE removed yet another coconut from his robe, and eyed Andy Lawson, hungrily. The coconut burst into blinding green flame, and the LGRE hurled it at his victim, leaving nothing more than the charred remains of his banana attire.
“Now go forth, minions.” howled the LRGE. “Spread the tale this rock thrush is a fence hopper, or you will share a similar fate.”
The council members slunk away into the murk, leaving fisher close and it’s human residents to live out their lives in fear, dread and terror.”
The self-appointed ‘Judge, Jury and Executioner‘ has decided that the Stow Blue Rock Thrush is an escape. We suspect BBRC will accept it, as its probably of wild origin and does not show any obvious sign of captivity. It seems to have departed Stow presumably on its migration.
The Birdforum Blue Rock Thrush, Gloucs thread stated on 26/2/17: “The Almighty One has decided that the Stow bird is not acceptable to UK400 as it is ‘no different to the Hemel bird and that was not given the benefit of the doubt’. When I said that there was no comparison between the Hemel bird and the Stow bird due to the obvious signs of damage and captivity in the Hemel bird, he’s response to the Hemel bird was that “it was immaculate until it flew into a building and destroyed itself.” Additionally he says there were 12 BRT’s at Bourton-on-the-Water but now they have none because they keep escaping!! And finally because the BRT is now on territory and in sub-song this also makes it an escape (in much the same way that the Devon Desert Wheatear, and Skinningrove EBR are also reportedly in subsong this week!!) ……. We live in an evidence based society, there is no evidence that the Stow bird is an escape.”
Also on BF was “I finally found a photo of the Hemel bird which LGRE says was in ‘immaculate plumage’ when it arrived until it flew into a building. Apparently it only had one eye and was trailing a substantial amount of string on its leg (the bird that is, not the birder!).”!! George also stated on twitter on 3/1/17 “Adult male Blue Rock Thrush of presumably captive origin still present”.
Birdworld at Bourton-on-the-Water has confirmed that they have not lost a BRT from their collection as they did not have one in the first place. BRT are rare in private collections. Birders who saw the Hemel Hempstead BRT from the very start said it was manky looking, had a dodgy eye, wire wrapped round one leg, and was one of the worst cases of damage they had seen from captivity. Within hours of the news getting out of the Hemel Hempstead BRT, RBA said the bird was duff.
Its odd that George has rejected this BRT when he accepts plastics e.g. White Pelican, Greater Flamingo, Ross’s Snow Goose, Ruddy Shelduck. Some birders have mentioned that perhaps George rejected the Stow bird to reduce Mark Pass’s all time UK record. For example, have a look at the incredible BirdForum post by Pariah (Owen Foley), or look at a copy of it in the In-the-dark-murky-cotswolds post. Why is George counting this on his 2016 UK400 year list if he thinks its an escape? Have a look at the comment below.
Regarding sub and full song in the winter grounds this is probably a rehearsal for the summer time. They are practising their songs, attempting to improve their own song quality to win the best territory and successfully attract females when they return to the breeding grounds. Have a look at Love Songs for Nobody – Birdsong in Winter
“The Truth on LGRE” old ex-website gave some of the fakes. Its web pages can ONLY be seen on an archive website. E.g. go to http://archive.org/web, then put the following address http://www.webbsteve.freeserve.co.uk in the archive search box, press BROWSE HISTORY, & select 2008 version. The are about 12 pages. So we found most of the following, plus we have added more information in brackets:
On April 13th 2004, George stated: “Unfortunately, I have been suffering again from malaria problems and have been too ill to answer the Emails. I am also suffering badly from a brain tumour which is seriously affecting my sight and speech and causing me ongoing migraine. I am too frightened to have it removed as the sight in my only remaining eye may well be affected by the operation”.
(George also claimed he had pancreatic cancer, which is normally terminal, and stated that he might not last beyond XMAS 2013 which is covered here, and his early signs of dementia covered here. He often uses the sympathy card.)
(Lists have been well covered on this blog, although we do think it’s amusing that some birders seem to think that George’s Top 10 Listing Birders in the UK is factual – the listers’ order & totals are wrong for a number of birders. Why don’t these “top” listers put their list on bubo? Steve Webb stated on bubo “There are a number of “high listers” not on here. I believe quite a number have something to hide.”)
“Been involved in at least 11 major car crashes which have resulted in several fatalities.”… “11 people died” …. “it’s just part of the birding game, when you’ve been in as many accidents as I have, you don’t worry about it”.
(There is no evidence of anyone losing their lives.) (Regarding the next topic below i.e. theft, we do not believe any of what George said. Have much do you believe of the following?)
“I lost £26,000 through that theft. I’d just taken delivery of my new book Rare Birds of Norfolk, and it was also the day I had to get my magazine out, so I was down the Post Office in Little Chalfont”. “I put my magazines in a sack and was carrying it to the Post Office counter when 2 yobboes jumped in the car and sped off the boot still up. … it had absolutely everything of mine in it, including a laptop computer with new big book on it – nine years’ work! There were telescopes – an unopened Nikon and an Optolyth made specially for me – 2 pairs of Leica binoculars, cameras…but the biggest problem was that I lost the whole stock of a new book (Rare Birds of Norfolk) – £60,000 (sic) worth which I had to pay for in 90 days. It was all burnt.”
“They drove my car into a sign called The Lee, which has got a picture of a little Firecrest on a wooden plinth next to it, and they stoked underneath the vehicle with my books and set fire to it. The place identified the car from the engine number and from the remains of my books flying around in the wind”
“The Rare Birds book that you ordered from me pre-1997 was part and parcel of my bankruptcy petition at Aylesbury County Court in 2002. As a result of a car theft from outside Little Chalfont Post Office in 1998 I lost everything. Inside the car – a white Vauxhall Cavalier GSi – were three telescopes (two brand new and boxed), two pairs of Leica binoculars, cameras, much birding paraphanelia including a stock of books, a laptop containing the original and only surviving data disc of the book you mentioned and a complete stock of ‘Rare Birds in Norfolk’ that I had just picked up from the printers in Ipswich. All of this was stolen with the car and apart from the books, used to stoke the fire that destroyed the remaining shell of the car, nothing was ever retrieved. Unfortunately, because the keys were inside the vehicle when it was stolen, the insurance company refused to pay out and in total I lost in the region of £36,000. After the theft, I tried to carry on in business but the mounting bills spiralled out of control and I had to cease the printing of my UK400 Club magazine ‘Rare Birds’. After two years of trying to keep afloat, I had to accept that I was failing and declared my bankruptcy petition with losses of £109,172.00.”
(In Behind the binoculars book, George gave a different figure of £30,000. George was not made bankrupt. This fabricated theft story was a great way of getting out of paying thousands of pounds of debt to birders for pre-paid books, magazines, bird tours including flights, etc.)
“Been disqualified from driving 4 times”. Country Life stated in 2000, and mentioned in the book: A Bird in the Bush, that George had “driven 3.8 million miles in search of birds”.
(We could be wrong on this, but we are only aware of George being disqualified once. George spends a fair amount of time in the WP so often his claims of extreme different amounts of UK high mileage are just fantasy.)
(On the Thurlestone Desert Wheatear ringing saga, George stated “I’m not one to put up with double standards” which is a typical statement from George, who has many double standards.)
All posts are checked for accuracy before they are published. So far all posts have been valid. If a significant amount of further information is added to the post, then the updated post will include in the title the latest posting date. This is to help readers be aware of later information.
Often we have witness information to a George event but to publish this information would made it very difficult for the witness. In these cases we do not publish the witness name or information but instead keep it in the private George files.
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