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The real “Top 10 Listing Birders in the UK” (29/3/20)

October 15, 2017

Updated 29/3/20. The UK400 “Top 10 Listing Birders” rankings have always been wrong.

This post is based on accepted BOURC species records (e.g. Eastern and Western Black-eared Wheatear, Hudsonian Whimbrel, adult Turkestan Shrike), Brown Booby and Irish records. The UK400 club also includes Irish records. We have also included aggregate species e.g. Fea’s/Desertas which would add 1 to a list. Bubo do not count aggregates. We ask on a regular basis some of the very high listers not on bubo what species they have seen. Only 3 (i.e. Steve Webb, Brett Richards, Paul Chapman) of the top 10 have their list on bubo!! We also take into consideration list cheating – George is not the only person cheating in the top 10.

Also when George use to update the UK400 Club listers ranking totals it was mainly guesswork resulting in quite a number of birders totals being way out. An example is shown here on page 11. Most birders have never submitted their list to George.

The UK400 “Top 10 Listing Birders” ranking totals are also based on guesswork plus incompetence plus a down marking of Steve Webb’s totals. Steve Webb was the owner of the old anti-LGRE website titled “The Truth on LGRE”. The last rankings done by George dated the 9/9/16 (which is shown in detail below) claims that no. 1. is Steve Gantlett, 2. Mel Billington, 3. Chris Heard, 4. David Oddy (i.e. Steve Webb), 5. Lee Evans, 6. John Regan, 7. Ron Johns, 8. Neil Alford, 9. Gerry Warne, 10. Chris Bell.

The real Top 10 BOU/IRB listers in ranking order are 1. Steve Webb (575), 2. Steve Gantlett, 3. Chris Heard, 4. John Regan, 5. Brett Richards, Paul Chapman, 7. Jerry Warne, Lee Evans and John Hewitt, 10. Neil Alford. Just outside the top 10 is Billy Simpson who is no. 11 on 562.

So Ron Johns, Mel Billington and Chris Bell are not in whereas Brett Richards, Paul Chapman, John Hewitt are in.

Steve Webb stated on https://www.bubo.org (e.g. 29/3/20) “No 1 since 2008. Lucky to be still ahead because spending 4 to 5 months/year birding abroad inc. at peak migration.” Note bubo does not include aggregate species e.g. Fea’s/Desertas.

575.png

Although George ‘claimed’ he was in the UK400 top 10 in the 1980’s and 1990’s he was NOT in the combined BOU/IRB top 10. It is only in recent years that George has got onto the combined top 10. 

George has never published a full UK400 detailed species list so its impossible to know exactly what he is claiming. However we know he counts quite a number of birds that are not accepted by BOURC e.g. Scillies Amur Wagtail, Bickell’s Thrush.

We encourage everyone to put their combined list on https://www.bubo.org so its clear what birders are claiming at the species level. However even on bubo there are stringers (e.g. George)!!!

The following UK400 rankings was from http://bbabirding.blogspot.com/p/the-top-10-listing-birders-in-uk.html (note David Oddy = Steve Webb) :

top 10 uk listers

The BOURC has historically maintained a British and Irish list. Wikipedia states “For many years, records of IRBC-assessed rarities were included in the BOURC’s reports, but this ceased in 2002, at the request of IRBC”. All top listers started listing well before this date and some go back to the 1970s when it was popular to keep a combined list. Even today most of the top listers do not keep a BOU only list.

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3 Comments
  1. A pariah in his own county caught out lying again this week on Facebook forum of Chesham wildlife
    Back to his attention seeking too claiming moving out of Bucks. Perhaps because no one of note in his home county will have anything do with him
    Graham Smith

  2. There is certainly an irony in that the British – the inventors of twitching – have yet to launch a website that shows an accurate and complete list of top twitchers. Correct me if I´m wrong.

    For such a list to be taken seriously it has to be taxonomically official, thus to follow BOURC is the only option, the so-called UK400 Club is not an official authority and should therefore be abandoned.

    Many British twitchers will keep a combined British and Irish list. However, for me as a foreigner (and I think I speak for many other European birders) it is more interesting to see this list as two separate totals, Britain and Ireland being different countries. You won´t find Scandinavians that run a Swedish and Danish list.

    There will always be problem issues – different people using different rules, people hiding and so on – and in my own country of Norway neither the full list nor the self-found list published online is accurate and complete as seen from the top. But twitchers know what other twitchers have seen, so a compilation is certainly possible to make.

    Geir Mobakken

  3. There is no website specifically just for BOU or combined BOU/IRBC lists. However https://www.bubo.org/ is the nearest to it. Three of the top 10 listers have their full lists on there. It allows BOU only and combined lists. Even having a published list on bubo does not stop some listers cheating but at least its obvious to many who is cheating. This is because bubo requires for each rare bird its location and date of the claim.

    The UK400 Club should be abandoned because it is run by the one man band George who makes very poor decisions on what goes on the list. The list contains plastics (e.g. Flamingo, White Pelican) and also birds rejected/not accepted by BOU as real birds (e.g. Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Bicknell’s Thrush).

    The BOURC has historically maintained a British and Irish list including a checklist covering the status of birds in Britain and Ireland. Wikipedia states “For many years, records of IRBC-assessed rarities were included in the BOURC’s reports, but this ceased in 2002, at the request of IRBC”. All top listers started listing well before this date and many go back to the 1970s or earlier when it was popular to keep a combined list. Even today many/most of the top listers do not keep a BOU only list.

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