Top Western Palearctic lister breaks the 850 barrier


After successfully connecting with the Amur Falcon in Cornwall in July 2017, Ernie Davis has become the first person to see 850 species in the Western Palearctic. Having spent years searching for hard-to-find birds in some of the region’s most remote areas, including the Cape Verde Islands, Western Sahara, the Upper Nile Valley in Egypt and Russia’s Ural Mountains and south-eastern steppe, Ernie just had to cross the county border from his home in south Devon to get his landmark 850th tick.

Amur Falcon would have been high on the wants lists of many of the region’s biggest listers, particularly those in Britain. The one previous British Amur spent a month in residence at Tophill Low, East Yorkshire, from 14 September-15 October 2008, but was believed to be a Red-footed Falcon – until it was reidentified from photos, by which time the bird had moved on.

In an increasingly competitive ‘WP listing’ field, Ernie Davis is three species clear of Pierre-André Crochet of France, and six ahead of Chris Bell from Co Durham. Based on BWP boundaries, just 18 birders have so far passed the 800-species mark, with 71 on 700 species or more.

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