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Top lister 2014 (version 4)

January 3, 2015

George (the self-appointed ‘judge, jury and executioner’ and ‘policeman’ of birding) has been telling porkies again!

On 26/12/14 George was claiming on Surfbirds a BOU total which was 2 higher than Andrew Kinghorn. On the list titled “2014 British Year List (BOU only)” George had 342 and Andrew 340. The 342 figure was not a slip of the pen because George also stated “Shetland would have given me 10 more but with an added £700 price tag, 352 would of still been very poor overall”.

Over the last 30 years, George has claimed many times the number one slot by claiming more birds than he has seen so his total was higher than anyone else. So was George in 2014 playing his old trick of claiming more birds than he has seen?

George’s BOU 2014 list (as of 3/1/15) on Bubo at http://www.bubo.org/Listing/view-list.html?list_id=18072 has a figure of 335 which was last updated on the 21 Dec. Also the following was sent in by CME: “BirdTrack now (28/12) showing LGRE on 335 species – identical to Bubo (and both derived from his own uploaded data)!”

Assuming the Surfbirds BOU only list total of 342 is correct perhaps George can enlighten us on what further 7 (i.e. 342 – 335) species he has seen to get to 342.

As of 2/1/15 on Bubo, George BOU list had only around 16 species with witness names and Andrew’s had about 4 times that amount of around 63 species. This is not enough witness names from George given his track record of telling porkies.

In the past George has rarely given witness names but when he has, sometimes he has been found out. For example, for the 1979 Lundy Ruppell’s Warbler, he gave a list of witness names. When these witnesses were contacted they said none had seen the Ruppell’s with George. When George was challenged about the lack of collaboration he then gave a new list of names. Surprise, surprise none of these saw the bird with George either, and one of them had been abroad at the time and so missed the bird!

On the 21 Dec, George’s updated his Bubo UK400 list giving a total of 343 and his BOU list with 335. When birders use UK400 “taxonomy” they normally get a lot more ticks than using BOU. Also the Bubo site shows George visited that site on 31/12/14 but his BOU total has remained at 335.

Given the above information we do not believe that George (Lee G R Evans of UK400, British Birding Association fame) has seen 342 BOU bird species as claimed on Surfbirds. So congratulations to Andrew Kinghorn on getting the 2014 BOU number one year list record.  Andrew after 26/12/14 got two more birds (Penduline Tit and Ivory Gull not Little Bustard) making the final total 342. On Surfbirds as of 3/1/15 it shows Andrew and George both on BOU 342.

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