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The real 2018 BOU no. 1 lister (29/1/19)

January 7, 2019

George is claiming to be the number 1 BOU record holder for 2018 along with Geoff Keen. George often claims to be the no. 1 record holder e.g. 2018, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2012, …, 1984,.. going back decades when the true record holder is not George.

We know for certain George did not see at least 3 birds for 2018. We have witnesses to this fact. However if we name the birds George would then know who gave us the information. Plus there is another 1 bird that almost certainly he did not see. Also have a look at the Storm Petrel saga mentioned below. Just because there is a witness name against a record and/or claimed photo do not think its a definite genuine record.

He is also counting a duff White Stork. Although George claims it had a metal ring the same bird ended up in Cambridgeshire where the ring was shown to be a red plastic ring (as some had claimed from the start – it was first seen in Cambridgeshire in March). As of January 2019 the same bird is still present at Welney, Norfolk.

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Although George is claiming 322 on Bubo we note that on Birdtrack he is claiming 321. We know that he has seen less than 321 species so that means he is fiddling his Birdtrack records as well.

Given that Geoff Keen is on 322 and George is on less than 322 we declare that the real BOU 1 record holder for 2018 to be Geoff Keen. Well done Geoff.

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Normally we do not bother with publishing a possible spoof because we do not even publish almost certain and highly probables ones but the following had unusual circumstances. Its a claim of a Storm Petrel. We let the reader decide if George saw this bird or not.

On 25th Dec 2018 George updated his bubo list from 250 to 304 species. By midday of the 31st Dec it then jumped to 316 which included for the first time records of Sooty, Great, and Balearic Shearwater at Porthgwarra for the 18th Sept. but it did not include Storm Petrel. George had to find another 6 birds to get to the magic figure of 322 to become the joint no. 1 record holder which he did by the end of that same day the 31st Dec. which then included Storm Petrel. His fabricated list can be downloaded here.

When adding Shearwaters to his bubo list George should have noticed that the Northern Storm Petrels section because it is right next to the Petrel and Shearwaters section i.e. 

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George’s final 31/12/18 bubo list is as follows:

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The very comprehensive Cornwall Birding (CBWPS) website shown below for the 18th shows no Storm Petrels for Porthgwarra. This website does mention Storm Petrels for Porthgwarra on other days. None of the 4 RBA Porthgwarra messages for the 18th mention Storm Petrel either. 


George on the 18th saw a Grey Phalorope in Huntspill, Somerset. On Facebook he says:

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On bubo for his claimed 6+ Great Shears he says “all very distant (an adult Roseate Tern being the highlight of a spectacularly poor seawatch!)”.

Of course its possible that George forgot to add in Storm Petrel the first time around but on the other hand he would have been very keen to get to 322 or more to become the no. 1 record holder. Perhaps he pretended very late on the 31st Dec to see a Storm Petrel and this is the one missing species from his Birdtrack list of 321. 

Do not be fooled into thinking just because there is a witness name against a record then its a genuine record. To show George has been fabricating for years lets look at his claimed 1979 Lundy Ruppell’s Warbler. He never did see this bird but he gave a list of witness names. Every witness was contacted and no one said they were with George on a chartered boat. Some did not go and one was abroad at the time. Charters to Lundy were not done in those days. 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. Although George might claim there is a photo that does not mean it exists because not all of his photos are on Facebook or Twitter. 

George in the past normally does not give enough date information for us to check his records fully. Then his 2016 list, for the first time ever, George gave a date for every bird. Due to the good date information it was far easier for us to prove he was cheating. Unfortunately George has reverted to his old ways so there are 182 species without a date (e.g. Richards, Ring billed Gull, GW Teal, Temm. Stint).

George also loves updating his Bubo list very late in the day as you can see from above. Leaving it so late means some birders memories fade, etc. It would help if George updated his list on Bubo every month and included for each scarce bird the location and date, but we will not hold our breath.

At the end of Jan. 2018 George stated on Facebook “185 species. Way shy of my record total of 221.” Early in 2002 George claimed his Jan. 2002 total was 222. Then on 24/5/02 he stated “recorded a total of 224 species in January 2002 which far exceeds the claim made by Les Holliwell. All but one of these birds was witnessed by respected birders …. and include over 400 of the keenest British birders. The full list complete with witnesses will be published”. When he did eventually publish this jan2002 he gave a claim of 221!! There were quite a number of birds without witnesses and quite a number were string. On Wikipedia he still claims “222 species in Britain in January”. It is very clear that Les Holliwell and NOT George is still the number one all-time January record holder with 217.

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