Who is Britain's top twitcher?

17 Jun 2009 12:04 #172 by Mike Prince
Birdwatch Magazine have just posted an article on this subject , referring to lists on BUBO Listing and Steve Webb's Britain and Ireland list which, with the recent addition of Brown-headed Cowbird, is at 543 species.

Most British listers on BUBO Listing have kept a Britain only list, rather than Britain and Ireland. I suspect this is because for many (including me!) these lists would be the same. However a higher proportion of top listers are interested in their Britain and Ireland lists as well.

Is Steve's the highest list? Do you suspect anyone not on BUBO Listing has seen more? Let us know!

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17 Jun 2009 19:51 #173 by Vince Halley-Frame
This is an interesting subject,
according to Lee Evans's UK400 Club it is not Ron Johns or the invisible man ( i still don't know who this is a nickname for possibly Steve Webb ! ? ), and Chris Heard is now in 5th place.
Its a great shame that other top listers like Ron Johns,Steve Gantlett,Chris Heard,Edwin Welland etc don't post their lists on Bubo,of course it is entirely up to the individual.Maybe some of them don't know about this website, it would make fascinating reading if a few of them did appear on Bubo !.
There are some younger twitchers coming through who one day may well take the crown, Richard Bonser who has seen an incredible amount of birds in Britain & Ireland for a 28 year old stands out. I take my hat off to him for his persistance.
It will be interesting to see how this thread develops,
atb,
Vince Halley-Frame. :dry:

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18 Jun 2009 03:39 #174 by Andy Musgrove
Yes Vince, from a recent posting by Lee "the invisible man" does appear to be Steve Webb.

The fact that Lee's rankings don't match ours is obviously due in part to the fact that many birders still have to discover the delights of BUBO (!), but also because his rankings use his own UK400 club taxonomy. Obviously, this differs somewhat from the BOU/IRBC lists favoured by a greater number of people on BUBO to date. Thus, it is quite possible that other top listers have seen a greater number of UK400 splits (i.e. considered as subspecies by BOU) than Steve.

Cheers

Andy

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19 Jun 2009 01:03 #175 by Michael Cross
Congratulations to Steve. I have been birding for 20 years or so and from the outset the name Ron Johns has been forever linked to the title "Top Twitcher" and it seemed inconcievable that would change. My BOU List is still 8 shy of 400 so I can only begin to marvel at the effort that Steve, Ron and others put in (let alone the other-half hassle that comes with it!)It is also highly comendable that his list is presented in the public domain for full scrutinee.

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23 Jun 2009 02:17 #177 by Dan Barrett
Congratulations indeed.
Now without wishing to pour cold water over this, can I raise the point that the Top Twitcher in any one year is likely to be the birder who is able to devote the most time and money in chasing birds all over the UK. Instead, I would prefer to see more praise heaped on the top Self Found lister, and these days, the Non-motorised year list.
It would be interesting to hear what others think.

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25 Jun 2009 05:18 #178 by Ian Foster
Although i can see and agree with what Dan Barrett states regarding Self Found Lists and Non Motorised Year Lists, there can be no hiding the fact of what a fantastic achievement it is for Steve Webb to become britain's "Top Twitcher". This hasn't happened in any one year, as far as i understand Ron John's has been Britain's number One since the sixties and it's taken Steve Webb between three and four decades Twitching every single New Bird to get to the top of the rankings. Yes having the time and money to chase all those birds for all those years must help and let's face it every one of the higher ranking Birders has spent a lot of both, the fact is Twitching is a lot more than just that, it's taken years (decades) of Dedication, never giving up when having a "bad run", having to drop everything at a moments notice, juggling Work and Family commitments. Also the time spent travelling from one bird to the next often late at night, setting off from home when you should be going to bed! Arriving home exhausted after a long twitch and having to go to work...etc etc etc.

Steve should be congratulated for what he has achieved and it's about time a "Top Twitcher" gets some recognition for what is often regarded as a lesser important aspect of Birds and Birdwatching.

More birders should be proud of what they have achieved as far as listing goes(regardless of what list is kept) and what better way to show it than entering a list on BUBO...



Regards Ian.

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25 Jun 2009 06:40 #180 by Vince Halley-Frame
Ian
You are thinking exactly the same way that i do, i could not have written a post that better describes how i feel about the top twitchers. You have to admire them and take your hat off to them, or in my case a ridiculously loud baseball cap from the Edinburgh Weaving Company !
As for the post by Dan, aren't we all 'self found'
listers at heart ?. There is nothing more exhilirating than finding your own birds, especially when you find something good just as you are feeling a tad disheartened. I never post a self found list on bubo because i rarely stray from my local patch of which 100% of the birds in 2009 are self found, and because i have enough bubo lists already !.
My i take this opportunity to say that the bubo forum is up and running, let us not forget that it is there for all of us to use, i hope to see more bubo listers posts in the future.
Good birding to one and all,
Vince.

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25 Jun 2009 19:19 #181 by Derek Moore
Can I just say that as a life-long conservationist and birder I see nothing wrong with responsible twitching. It is just another facet of the great birding scene which attracts more and more people to birding thus hopefully providing more resources for those organisations fighting to protect our birds.

Congratulations to Steve Webb who I remember as a youngster setting out years ago to challenge the Great Ron Johns. He must be the undisputed Champ as his list stands up againts the official taonomic lists. With the greatest respect the lee Evans list is really only recognised by Lee.

Well done Steve - have not seen you for years but keep it up - I reckon you must have at least 30 years left and you will have more time (maybe less cash) in retirement.

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26 Jun 2009 04:37 #182 by Steve Webb
Many thanks for the congratulations. The Birdwatch article does not give the full story. I already have seen more than Ron. When I saw the Cretzschmar's Bunting (29/09/08) that gave me 2 more than Ron not including the Citril Finch. Unfortunately for me the BOURC then split Dusky Thrush into 2 species and I had only seen 1 of these species unlike Ron so that reduced the lead to 1. Then this year Ron saw his first Glaucous Winged Gull which reduced my total by yet another 1.

The reason why I include Ireland is because I have been going there since 1970's and in those days many birders were also included Ireland. As you know the British and Irish list use to be a combined list.

It is more difficult to determine what rivals British lists are because most high listers include Ireland.

Cheers
Steve :)

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27 Jun 2009 06:07 #183 by Steve Webb
I just noticed that I got the figures slightly wrong because I was working back from my current figures and the Citril Finch confused the situation.

If I count the Citril Finch then I am ahead of Ron by one but level pegging without it. With the Cretzschmar's Bunting (29/09/08) that put me one ahead not including the Citril Finch. Ron saw the Little Blue Heron later in the week than me so for a short duration I was ahead by two. Sorry about that.

It would help if others birders put their lists in the public domain i.e. bubo (including first date of sightings) as it would then be easy to compare lists.

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30 Jun 2009 03:22 #187 by Johnny Allan
Replied by Johnny Allan on topic Who is Britain's top twitcher?
I'd like to know who has seen the most in Britain. It could be Steve or Ron (or someone else ?). Congratulations to Steve for putting his list on BUBO, I know of lots of guys who must have pretty big lists and it would be nice to see them on BUBO. I hope to overtake them all one day (if I live to 150 !).

Johnny Allan

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30 Jun 2009 19:45 #191 by Vince Halley-Frame
Johnny
Im trying to work out why you would like to see more listers using Bubo. I clicked on your name to discover you have been a member of this site for over two years without a SINGLE list contribution. I know for a fact that your BOU list is somewhat higher than mine, so how about a contribution ? If not then why not ?
Regards,
Vince. :dry:

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30 Jun 2009 22:02 #193 by Mike Prince
Vince Halley-Frame wrote:

I clicked on your name to discover you have been a member of this site for over two years without a SINGLE list contribution.

Whilst Andy has posted about the 1000th "active" lister recently, there are actually nearly 500 "inactive" listers like Johnny, i.e. those who've registered but not actually added any lists. And of course, since viewing lists is public there's several more who use the site but haven't registered.

Come on Johnny et al, let's get some more lists on! ;)

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01 Jul 2009 05:00 - 01 Jul 2009 06:14 #194 by Ian Foster
Vince Halley-Frame wrote:

Johnny
Im trying to work out why you would like to see more listers using Bubo. I clicked on your name to discover you have been a member of this site for over two years without a SINGLE list contribution. I know for a fact that your BOU list is somewhat higher than mine, so how about a contribution ? If not then why not ?
Regards,
Vince. :dry:


Very well put Vince, there's a lot of Birders out there checking this web-site without joining in...maybe they've got something to hide ;) .

It would be good to see more joining the ranks and it's very encouraging to see some of the Bigger Listers getting involved, so maybe one day we'll see a complete "Top Ten". I know for a fact if i were up there i'd be more than happy to let everyone know what i'd seen!

Some may be put off thinking their list is not "big" enough but Twitching is after all a lot of Fun (well most of the time)and Listing is all part of it. The beauty of BUBO is if you can't compete with the Top it's better to take a look at the people near you on the list and check what they've seen and when they started Twitching. At the end of the day we all know the size of a list aint that important but trying to increase it gets you out of the house and takes you to some Fantastic places around the Country and you'll see some Superb birds along the way!

Sorry if i've gone on a bit...

Cheers Ian.
Last edit: 01 Jul 2009 06:14 by Ian Foster.

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02 Jul 2009 19:37 #195 by Neil Manthorpe
I think that "Birdwatch" did a good job with the list that they have published. It did not go wild with splits and gave a reasoned argument for all the additions/subtractions from the BOU list. We all know that the BOU list is conservative in its approach and quite rightly so. The "Birdwatch" list makes a good attempt to create a list for birders. I am not sure that their website has updated the list since the update was published last year. Has someone kept their own updates that they could add to this or another discussion? I think the reasoned arguments for each departure from the BOU list make the "Birdwatch" list a credible alternative to the official list.

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06 Jul 2009 19:15 #200 by Johnny Allan
Replied by Johnny Allan on topic Who is Britain's top twitcher?
Vince Halley-Frame wrote:

Johnny
Im trying to work out why you would like to see more listers using Bubo. I clicked on your name to discover you have been a member of this site for over two years without a SINGLE list contribution. I know for a fact that your BOU list is somewhat higher than mine, so how about a contribution ? If not then why not ?
Regards,
Vince. :dry:


Hi Vince,

my actual comment was "I know of lots of guys who must have pretty big lists and it would be nice to see them on BUBO". I do not count myself amongst these. I refer to people like Ron Johns, Steve Gantlett, Richard Millington, Chris Heard, Steve Whitehouse, Dick Filby, LGRE, Franko, John Hewitt, Barry Reed, Mick Turton, Dave Holman, Edwin Welland and many more.

Although it's not compulsory to for a member of this site to put any list up, the reason I haven't is that I can't be arsed just yet. However, I may get around to putting my BOU, county and patch list up some time. I'm sure others will as well.

Kind regards

Johnny Allan

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26 Jul 2009 18:41 #211 by Trevor Girling
Hi Johnny

I thought exactly the same before getting my lists onto Bubo: I didnt have time, I had to check dates etc etc. I eventually updated an Excel spreadsheet with all details. This was forwarded to Andy and Mike and hey presto within days my lists were on for all to see.

I do agree it would be great to see the big boys lists, just to know what, where and when birds had been seen.

Cheers

Trevor

PS Keep up the good work Andy and Mike.

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31 Jul 2009 19:08 #213 by Brian Rimmer
Hi Vince
Notice you're a couple of spots above me and your profile states your fondness for quality ale so no doubt our paths have crossed somewhere in the past inside The Atlantic no doubt after that mega. Hicks is a bit too powerful for me,used to prefer Tinners and lately Tribute. Anyway just a small contribution in answer to your request for more members to post on to the forum. Off to Shetland this Sept. for the first time where I hope to catch up on a few birds missing from my list maybe even Whites thrush which I notice you need yourself, as well as sampling the local Valhalla beers.
cheers
BR

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01 Aug 2009 05:22 #214 by Vince Halley-Frame
Hi Brian,
i haven't visited Scilly since 2005 when the Cream Coloured Courser turned up and i haven't had a pint of Hicks since ! I had a week on Shetland last year in late September early October. We found R-b Fly at Channerwick and a few Yellow-b Warblers at Kergord plantation which we birded quite a bit. A week or so after we left a White's Thrush was found there !
I did see one in Ireland in 1993 and spent ages looking for the 1999 St Agnes bird without so much as a glimpse ! That bird cost me a Veery at St levan, as a chopper was chartered from Tresco to Penzance when news broke. I was stuck on Aggie looking for that bloomin' Thrush !
I am sure you will enjoy Shetland for the scenery and get some ticks, i will click on your BOU list and click the target to see what you are missing. That way i will have a good idea what you are most likely see, ah the beauty of bubo if only we could get more customers....
All the best for Shetland Brian,
Regards,
Vince.
P.S. Im going to Ireland seawatching on 21st-23rd August at The Bridges of Ross in County Clare.My main targets will be Fea's and possibly Wilson's Petrel.

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03 Aug 2009 18:44 #215 by Brian Rimmer
Thanks for reply Vince. Not done an autumn in Scilly either since the CCC/Ovenbird year when I got the Courser a day after you on Martins,decided to stay a few more days there after so celebrated later in The Seven Stones with a couple of pints of Betty Stogs(the pub itself was also a tick for me). Interesting your tale of Whites Thrush,was stuck at work when the Easington bird turned up and dipped next day and stupidly went on hols. early Oct. 99 so missed all those goodies. As for Veery, was getting loads of "earache" from the better 'alf after going awol for most of Oct 87 when the Lundy Veery turned up so basically was grounded,havn't had a sniff of one since. Best of luck B. of R. I need to work up some enthusiasm one day in Aug to PG for a certain large shearwater omitting from my list.
cheers
BR

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